Sciatica… Or just tight muscles?
Interestingly, I’ve had an increase in clients suffering with a radiating pain through their glutes (that’s your bum cheek) down into their leg.
Did you know, your sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in your body? It starts just outside the base of your spine, passes alongside or goes through the piriformis muscle, down the back of the leg and branches off into smaller nerves that end in the feet.
Now, at first glimpse I know what you’re all thinking, “yep, that’s sciatica” … and what’s commonly associated with sciatica? ‘Slipped disc’ aka herniated or bulging disc’s.
Although this is of course a very common reason for having sciatic pain, it isn’t the only cause. Tight muscles can compress the nerve, resulting in the same sciatic nerve pain.
Let’s have a look at the piriformis muscle for example:
The piriformis muscle is part of your bum cheek muscles, and as you can see from the image and the explanation of the sciatic nerve above, your sciatic nerve travels very close to this muscle. So, what do you think happens when this muscle gets tight? It compresses the nerve - giving you sciatic nerve pain
Another muscle that can often be the culprit is the QL muscle, Quadratus lumborum. This is your deepest abdominal muscle and is found either side of your spine in your lower back.
When tight, the QL can be involved in cases of sciatica, often together, the QL and gluteus minimus can cause low back pain and create pain that mimics true sciatica.
How can you tell which it is?
If you‘re experiencing any of these pains, see a sports therapist - they can do a number of physical tests to determine the root cause of your sciatic nerve pain & hopefully get you back on 2 legs!
Any more questions?
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