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#1 Mistake Everyone with Sciatica Makes

#1 Mistake Everyone with Sciatica Makes

By: Dr.Arnan Sisson, PT

February 5th, 2024

Our practice here in Montross specializes in treating folks with back and sciatic pain. One of the many problems we see is people trying to mask their pain by taking pain pills like Tylenol or other anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve some discomfort. What most people don't realize is that when you experience pain that lasts more than a week it is unlikely to just go away on its own. Masking the problem with more pain pills will cause your body to adjust to the medication and the pills will lose their effectiveness more each time you take them. Many people do this for years until they have to swallow a handful of pills just to function. After 15-plus years with sciatica, we have had clients who are piling up with Tylenol, taking 6,7, even 8 a day for years and many have developed ulcers because of this.


Many patients with sciatica are worried that the pain is going to get so bad that they may need surgery, they can't go for long drives, often lack sleep, and can't enjoy life with family and friends. The worst part about it that causes the frustration is that they are actively trying to treat it. By the time they give us a ring they are typically suspicious because they have already tried other forms of treatment. They have had massage, chiropractic, hot and cold gels, and creams, stretches, and nothing seems to ease the pain!


People with sciatica will feel pain in the hip, lower back, and down the thigh, we have had patients in the past who even feel it down past the knee. Some of my sciatica patients have numbness in their toes and a lot of weakness in the foot which makes it hard to pick up because of that irritated nerve. Those folks often try to massage, stretch, and strengthen where they feel the pain at the thigh and hip which may feel good at the time but that next day two things can happen.


Either it felt good that previous night and goes back to how it feels normally, or they get a flare-up and they can’t budge and that is where the problem lies. Sciatica in most cases stems from the back. The back is very complicated, I can tell you seeing so many cases of back pain it is a complicated structure that can confuse a lot of people. There are huge concentrations of nerves that run through the lower back and can radiate pain all over the body. I have had patients that have pain down to the foot, hip, thigh, across the abdomen, up the middle of the back and all of it was coming from the center of the lower back.


So don't make the mistake of chasing down the pain. Try to fight the urge of doing self-treatments where the pain is emanating, instead try the lower back, even if your pain is down your hamstring. You want to focus all of your efforts around the lower back. You will want to do your massage work, your stretching, and all your strengthening workouts to the lower back being very conservative at first and building it up as it gets easier.


With these tips, if you can make this transition, in a week or so you should get some improvement. If it hasn’t completely gone away within a week you're just going to need a little bit more guidance, but this should help you get one step closer to getting back your life.


If you have sciatica and have tried this adjustment that you just read and have gotten little results or you're still struggling with the pain and not feeling improvement then feel free to give us a ring at (804)493-3256, every week we have two slots open for a free phone consultation with myself. What I do in these free 20-minute phone consults is go in depth about your case, i'll ask very detailed questions we will figure out the general cause of your sciatica and the top 2-3 treatment strategies you'll need to learn to finally resolve it.