sciatic nerve diagram group - How Can Magnetic Therapy Relieve Sciatica?
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How Can Magnetic Therapy Relieve Sciatica?

What is Sciatica? The longest nerve in your body, the sciatic nerve runs from your pelvis through your hip area and buttocks and down each leg. It divides into the tibial and peroneal nerves at the level of your knees. The sciatic nerve controls many of the muscles in your lower legs and provides feeling to your thighs, legs and feet.


About the Author:

Dr. George Best is in private practice in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, check out Dr. Best's free e-book and online video course to assist in understanding and treating sciatica and piriformis syndrome, including in-depth instruction on sciatica exercises at http://www.SciaticaSelfCare.com .


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 The quality of pain may vary. There may be constant throbbing, but then it may let up for hours or even days; it may ache or be knife-like. Sometimes postural changes like lying down or changing positions affect the pain, and sometimes they don't. In severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of reflexes or even a wasting of the calf muscles.

To complicate matters, although sciatica pain is usually in the back of the legs or thighs, some people may feel pain in the front or side of the legs or even in the hips. For some, the pain is in both legs: bilateral sciatica!

In some cases, piriformis syndrome may cause true sciatic nerve irritation, as the sciatic nerve may run underneath or even through the middle of the piriformis, so contraction of the piriformis may produce sufficient compression of the sciatic nerve to produce actual nerve symptoms. This is one of the main sources of confusion when it comes to distinguishing true sciatica from piriformis syndrome.

In addition to pain, you may also experience: ???Numbness or muscle weakness along the nerve pathway in your leg or foot. In some cases, you may have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another. ???Tingling or a pins-and-needles feeling. This occurs most commonly in your toes or part of your foot. ???A loss of bladder or bowel control. This is a sign of cauda equina syndrome, a rare but serious condition that requires emergency care. If you experience either of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.

The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze. Usually only one lower extremity is affected.

For example, while commonly recommended to people with sciatica, exercises such as hamstring stretches and the yoga position, "downward facing dog" can be beneficial as part of managing one's condition once the pain is reduced, these exercises can place tension on the sciatic nerve and aggravate an already inflamed and sensitive condition. In general, any exercise that causes pain to increase in the leg and/or extend further down the leg should be completely avoided during the acute phase of sciatica.

2. A Magnetic therapy pillow pad. If for any reason what so ever you cannot wear a back belt or support the only alternative is to use a pad placed under your back in bed at night. It can also be used during the day when sitting or lying down (even in the car). You will not have 24 hours 7 day a week exposure to the magnets but if you cannot wear a strap this is an acceptable alternative as long as it is used every might when the body is at its most receptive to magnetic healing.

When magnetic therapy is used in-conjunction with deep penetrating massage and cold/ice therapy, the symptoms of sciatica can be resolved in just a few days. Massage will relax the muscles that have gone into spasm around the trapped nerve, the cold or ice will help reduce the inflammation and heat around the injury and both of these will prepare the tissues and muscles, so that the magnetic field can penetrate more quickly into the damaged area. Massage and ice therapy can be used 3-4 times a day for approximately 10 minutes at a time.

Two simple maneuvers will distinguish sciatica from piriformis syndrome in the majority of cases (when the problem is one versus the other and not both conditions at the same time). First, in a seated position, if one straightens the leg on the painful side (so that the leg is parallel to the floor), and the sciatica symptoms increase, this is usually a sign of true sciatic nerve irritation.

If your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, the condition is called sciatica (pronounced si-ad'-i-ka). The pain can be intense! It often follows the path of your nerve - down the back of your leg, ankle, foot, and toes - but it can also radiate to your back! Along with burning, sharp pains, you may also feel nerve sensations such as pins-and-needles, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations, or tenderness. Ironically, your leg may also feel numb!

About the Author:

Dr. George Best has been treating sciatica patients for over 15 years. For a free e-book on sciatica exercises and to access his informational online video series on sciatica and the treatment options for it, visit his website on sciatica self care.

For sciatica sufferers, a good night's sleep may be a thing of the past. Simple things like walking, sitting, or standing up can be difficult or impossible.

But since the most effective treatment for the two conditions varies signficantly, it is important to determine the correct diagnosis if at all possible. In most cases there is an easy way to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome.

Sciatica refers to irritation of the sciatic (often mis-spelled as syatic or psyatic) nerve, that arises from nerve roots in the lumbar spine. The most common cause of sciatic nerve irritation, or "true" sciatica is compression of one or more of its component nerve roots due to disc herniation or spinal degeneration in the lower lumbar region. Sciatica usually begins in the buttock area and, depending on the severity of the underlying nerve comression and inflammation, may extend down the entire leg to the ankle and foot.

As a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, I take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of sciatica. After a thorough neurological exam, I determine which part of the nervous system is not functioning properly. In many sciatica patients, I find a high mesencephalic output.

There are three parts to the brain stem: top, middle and lower. The mesencephalon is the top part of the brain stem. A high output of the mesencephalon will cause an increased pulse and heart rate, the inability to sleep, or a waking, fitful sleep. Other symptoms might include urinary tract infections, increased warmth and sweating, and sensitivity to light. Along with a high mesencephalic output, the migraine patient may present with a decreased output of the cerebellum. The cerebellum controls balance, coordinated movement, and the involuntary muscles of the spinal column.

There are really only 2 magnetic therapy devices that are effective in treating sciatica: 1 .A magnetic therapy back strap or support. The functional straps and supports can be placed directly over the area of pain. If the sciatica is very low in the back then a narrow strap will be more practical and altogether more comfortable than a wide support, as it fits snugly around the hip area and will stay over the compressed nerve. A wider support is effective if the sciatic pain is higher and nearer to the waist area. As with all magnets the straps/supports need to be worn for 24 hours and 7 days a week until the pain has gone.

 
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What are the signs and symptoms of Sciatica? Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You may feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it's especially likely to follow one of these routes: ???From your lower back to your knee. ???From the mid buttock to the outside of your calf, the top of your foot and into the space between your last two toes. ???From the inside of your calf to your inner ankle and sole.

As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of true sciatica are very similar to piriformis syndrome. Both cause pain, tingling, burning, "electrical shock" sensations, and/or numbness down the leg, often all the way to the foot. In addition, both sciatica and piriformis syndrome tend to be at least partially related to biomechanical functional problems in the joints of the back and pelvis and they may even be present simultaneously in the same person, so it an be difficult to tell them apart.

Sciatica exercises are an important part of both short and long-term treatment, but it is critical to choose the right exercises. Even commonly-recommended exercises for sciatica may not be indicated during times of severe acute symptoms, and some exercises may only make things worse.

A large amount of confusion and misunderstanding exists concerning the conditions sciatica and piriformis syndrome. There are some who insist that the two conditions are actually the same thing, but even though they can have symptoms that are very much alike, the underlying causes differ.

A position or exercise that results in symptom centralization is one that will be beneficial, even in situations where symptoms increase for a time in areas closer to the spine. For example, if you had sciatica and low back pain and tried one of of the McKenzie exercises and the sciatica completely went away but the back pain got worse, the exercise would still be considered beneficial and it would be recommended to continue using it. In the long run, a sciatica exercise that produces centralization will usually eventually result in improvement in all symptoms, even if more central (closer to the spine) symptoms get worse at first.

Piriformis syndrome, also known as "pseudo-sciatica" (meaning "false sciatica"), is actually referral pain and other symptoms (tingling, numbness, etc.) caused by tightness and knots of contraction in the piriformis muscle, which runs from the upper femur bone to the edge of the sacrum, the triangular pelvic bone that is below the lumbar spine. The symptoms of piriformis syndrome are very similar and may be indistinguishable from true sciatica.

The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve, from your back into your buttock and leg. The discomfort can range from mild to incapacitating, and may be accompanied by tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. Rather than a disorder in and of itself sciatica is a symptom of another problem that puts pressure on the nerve.

McKenzie practitioners use the word "centralization" when the pain and other symptoms are relieved in the areas the greates distance away from the spine. To give an example, in a person with sciatica all the way down the leg to the foot, centralization might occur in which the pain left the foot and lower leg and then only extended down to the knee. Or, if sciatica symptoms started out going as far as the knee, centralization would be if the symptoms left the thigh and only went as far as the hip area.

The simplest of the McKenzie exercises for alleviating sciatica is done by simply lying on one's stomach on the floor or a firm surface and propping one's chest up on the elbows. This places the lower spine in a gentle extension, which can help relieve sciatica by pushing bulging spinal discs forward, and away from the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve, reducing pressure and irritation. Although you can maintain this position for relatively long periods of time, I recommend doing it for short periods of one or two minutes with a rest break of at least a few minutes in between. The frequent breaks prevent the low back muscles from tightening up as much, and yet still allows for good overall results. For more complex sciatica exercises, getting detailed instructions either through an illustrated guide or an experienced health care practitioner is advised.

The second maneuver is done in two parts. First, from the sitting position one bends the leg and pulls the knee on the painful side towards the same-side shoulder. In all but the most severe cases, there is usually no major increase in pain in this position. The second part of the maneuver is to pull the knee toward the opposite side shoulder. An increase in the sciatica-like symptoms is a strong indication of piriformis syndrome.

During the acute phase of sciatica pain, McKenzie exercises provide one of the best and safest treatment approaches available - more effective than medication and epidural steroid injections in many people. Though often associated with spinal extension and mistakenly called the "McKenzie Extension Exercises", McKenzie method may involve any number of spinal positions/movements. The whole point of the McKenzie method is to evaluate different positions/exercises to find what best produces "centralization" of symptoms.

Magnetic therapy for sciatica. Sciatica can resolve by itself but this can take many weeks or even months. You can however quite rapidly reduce the symptoms of sciatica with magnets. As with all magnetic therapy treatments, the magnets have to be placed as close to the area of pain as possible, this will be the lower (lumbar) region of the back. Even though you may have pain down your legs or in your buttocks the cause is still in the lower back. When you treat the back area and the sciatica resolves then the pain running down the leg and buttocks will also dissipate.

Debbie Shimadry is as an expert guest on magnetic therapy for BBC Radios and is also the managing director of leading magnetic therapy company worldofmagnets.co.uk. If you are interested in natural pain relief visit the magnetic article directory or the health reciprocal link exchange directory.

It is important to distinguish between sciatica and piriformis syndrome, because the treatment for the conditions varies, and getting the diagnosis right typically leads to more effective treatment.

No matter what the condition, it is imperative that the chiropractic neurologist performs a thorough and comprehensive exam to determine the exact nature of the patient's condition.


Mary J. Vega

 
 
     
 
 





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