Spinal decompression for sciatica. The Sciatic is a condition characterized by the compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. The nerve runs from the lumbar spine in the lower back to the foot on each side of the body. It is the main neurological pathway for the lower body.
Sciatica is often quite painful. The pain is usually sharp in the lower back and radiates down the buttocks, sometimes into the leg as well. Weakness, numbness and tingling may also be experienced anywhere along the nerve path since its ability to send motor and sensory signals to the body parts is impeded.
Sciatica can be caused by many different situations. The most common, according to SpineUniverse.com, are a herniated or bulging disc, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.
Freeing the sciatic nerve from impingement, thereby restoring nerve function, is the goal of sciatica treatment. Stretching and exercising may be enough to accomplish this.
For herniated or bulging discs, Spine-Health.com explains that most people can manage their pain by getting it to move from the legs into the lower back, then eliminating the centralized pain. This is done through a series of stretches that arch the back backward, after which the lower back and abdominal muscles undergo a strengthening routine. Conditioning your muscles to form a strong core will help to support the spine and hold everything in its proper place. When discs are less compressed due to muscular support of the spine, herniated or bulging discs will have less of an effect and may even return to their normal shape. Herniated discs will reabsorb the liquid that has leaked out and pain can, with ongoing treatment, be eliminated.
People with spinal stenosis causing sciatica have to deal with the fact that pain management does not mean resolving the root cause. Exercise can help to relieve pain, but it does not permanently widen the spinal canal.
Spinal stenosis is characterized by a narrowing of the spinal canal (the space that runs through the middle of the spine from top to bottom). When the space becomes narrowed, it can impinge the nerves in the spine. Lumbar stenosis often entails sciatica.
People with stenosis often feel pain relief when they are leaning forward; this is because forward bending (spinal decompression) increases the size of the nerve’s pathway in the spine. Stretching the muscles that allow the back to bend backward and strengthening those that allow forward bending, especially the lower abdominals, is the foundation of the exercise program. In combination with adjusting posture, spinal decompression, to facilitate forward bending by tilting the pelvis, this is a solid pain management program.
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra of the spine falls forward over another vertebra. The misplaced bone can press on the sciatic nerve. Spine-Health.com explains that the normal exercise regimen for this type of sciatica is complicated and should be done with an instructor for maximum benefit. It entails a combination of forward bending exercises and training the lumbar spine to be stable at all times in a position that is comfortable.