One of the main nerves in our legs is called the sciatic nerve which traverses from the lower back, through the buttock and down the leg. When the nerve is inflamed, pain, numbness, and/or weakness is often felt in the buttock and upper thigh - in some cases the pain can travel down to the feet, down the back or side of the leg. Sciatica can literally be a big pain in the butt!
There has been an increase in the number of clients that have come to my clinic in recent weeks due to back pain and sciatica - many of them have been spending more time in their gardens, lifting heavy objects, and sitting in the car for long periods of time. It has been estimated that up to 40% of people experience sciatica at some time during their lives, most commonly in people in their 40’s or 50’s, and more commonly men than women.
We all experience pain at some point in our lives. Pain is nature telling us, "Your body is being injured - take action to stop damage and prevent it from happening again." Reaching for medication is a common choice for some, however it’s worth considering whether it’s a suitable approach. If pain is our body’s way of warning us of harm, temporarily masking it with drugs means we’re ignoring the warning and allowing injury to continue. It also means that the root cause of the problem isn’t being addressed and potentially becoming worse.
There are two main types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute pain warns you that you’ve been hurt - it starts suddenly, and when the injury heals, the pain stops. Chronic pain, on the other hand, continues after the injury has healed, lasting for weeks, months, even years. According to the National Centre for Health Statistics, the most common sources of chronic pain include low back pain, neck pain, and headache or migraine pain.
The most common symptoms felt by my peripheral neuropathy clients include burning sensations, pins and needles, and numbness. The symptoms alone however are usually not what prompts sufferers to come to me for treatment. They’re typically more concerned about the impact neuropathy has on their quality of life, including:
Difficulty sleeping due to pain and restlessness
Fear of losing balance or falling
Reduced confidence while driving (inability to feel the pedals)
You might be wondering what the heck is happening in this video?! 👣
The young man in the video suffered a terrible accident two years ago that rendered him bedridden with several issues, including neuropathic pain in the lower half of his body - particularly affecting his feet. It was so severe that even a light touch of his feet would cause him to recoil due the sensation of burning, electric pain; he was unable to wear socks let alone perform various therapeutic exercises designed to help him to regain the ability to stand and walk.
Following the initial treatment, he and his nurse (rubbing his foot in the video) - and I - were ecstatic, to say the least, that he could be touched without pain. Receiving this video from him the evening after meeting him for the first time felt like such a surreal gift. Several treatments later he was able to progress in therapy and take a few steps 🎉
... more details about treating pain and neuropathic pain to come