Sciatica Home Treatment – Ways To Relieve Sciatic Pain Caused By Muscle Imbalances
Home Treatment For Sciatica Pain Caused By Muscle Imbalances
Did you know that a home treatment is usually sufficient to address the most common cause of sciatica pain? This, in most cases, is imbalance in muscles.
Muscle imbalance, in the simplest terms, refers to a tug-of-war between muscles. It is ideal for both the involved muscles to have equal strength, however, when muscle imbalance occurs, one of these muscles tends to become considerably stronger than the other one.
The causes of this are numerous, although the most common ones held responsible are lifestyle choices, injury and even regular habits. For example, consider an individual whose job requires him or her to sit for long periods of time at a stretch. When this happens on a regular basis, the muscles associated with sitting (muscles in the abdomen, spine and hips as well as Psoas muscles) become shortened. The body assumes this position as the new “normal” position and begins adapting to it. This, however, is unnatural and leads to increased, unnecessary pressure on the spinal nerves.
There are other tasks which lead to muscle imbalances. Bending, twisting or using only one of your arms to perform a particular task can cause an imbalance between your muscles, resulting in pain. Curing pain which occurs due to these activities involves compensatory workouts and opposite motion. These, if ignored, can lead to multiple and severe imbalances.
Muscle imbalances are not only subject to performing tasks. Your being right or left-handed can also cause imbalance to a certain extent. Scientifically, if you have a stronger left arm and a weaker right arm, you will end up placing uneven loads in opposite sides of your body. Muscle imbalances can thus occur when you are carrying bags, or even when swinging tennis rackets.
The Piriformis syndrome is a kind of muscle imbalance. Although this condition is largely blamed for occurrence of sciatic pain, this is not always true. There are various other muscle imbalances, and they are also equally capable of causing sciatica.
Muscle Imbalances – Diagnostics
Conducting self tests is important when it comes to diagnosing these imbalances, although these are often not enough. However, there are a few aspects which can help you determine if you have these imbalances or not. For example, if you have to sit for long at a stretch and you have bad posture; chances are you are suffering the muscle imbalances. Additionally, exercising only half of an opposing muscle group, or using only half of your body for a regular activity can also lead to these imbalances.
If you cannot determine if you have a muscle imbalance, it is best to consult a chiropractor. Some of them offer specialized assessments to check muscular balance, and these are known as manual muscle testing. Your chiropractor may give you a task to look out for a weak muscle which is compensating.
How to Treat Sciatica Caused By Muscle Imbalances
It is rare to come across a doctor who directly tends to treat these muscle imbalances. The first approach towards treatment involves administering pain relieving drugs which have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. This being said, most of these drugs do not work as intended, and their only objective is to help the patient mask the pain temporarily.
Some doctors may also recommend physical therapy, although this largely depends on the patients themselves. If your health insurance covers it, it is a good idea to go for physical therapy. However, most such therapies are generic in nature, and do not precisely concentrate on the condition of tissues and muscles which may be cause of the pain in the first place.
Chiropractic care is sometimes helpful, and especially in situations when the vertebra gets misaligned. However, these adjustments or alignments are not typically covered in a health insurance plan, and that means a patient will have to pay for the sessions. Here, one-time treatments are not helpful, and a sufferer will have to make a number of visits to his or her chiropractor before the adjustment actually takes place.
Moreover, chiropractic care does not offer immediate results. In a large number of cases, the pain actually increases when initial adjustments are carried out. Furthermore, treating chronic sciatica pain with chiropractic treatment is practically ineffective.
This and a host of other factors have led to the gradual rise in popularity of home sciatica treatments. People have looked up to other forms of treatment for a long time, and having found no relief from medications and chiropractic care, are turning towards home remedies for the treatment of sciatic pain.
While this is common, not many of us are aware of the fact that most people have a slight difference when measuring the length of their legs. This is a natural difference, and does not cause any pain. However, this difference causes a pull, strain and also results in muscle imbalance. Shoe lifts are recommended alternatives for treatment of this condition. The therapy works when the shoe lift prevents the body from automatically correcting the tilt which occurs at the hips. This eases the pain, since this is also the source of the pain. Once the lifts are released, the pain resurfaces again. Additionally, shoe lifts can also cause pain in the joints, feet and knees.
While all the above mentioned treatment options have their own side effects and limitations, it is best to opt for a home sciatica treatment which consists of stretches and other exercises. However, one must ensure that these activities are all related to correcting muscle imbalances. Some therapists also recommend these exercises to their patients when they are suffering from sciatica, but it is not always possible to visit your therapist when suffering from the pain.
By learning and practicing the exercises by yourself and at home, you can resume your normal routine in a short span of time, even after a flare-up. These movements have also helped chronic sciatica patients, and most of them found relief from the pain after only a few weeks of doing these exercises.
Stretching Exercises to Get Rid Of Sciatica
Piriformis Stretch – This muscle is located deep in the pelvis. When the piriformis muscle becomes too strained, it pressurizes the sciatic nerve, thereby causing immense pain in the buttocks and hips. The piriformis stretch helps release and ease the muscle.
How to do the Piriformis Stretch
The stretch requires you sit down on the floor, your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. If your left side pains, slowly pull your left leg over the right to cross it. Then, using your arms, pull your left leg towards your chest.
If you have performed the steps correctly, a stretching sensation will be felt across the buttocks. This is the piriformis muscle. You may hold your left leg close to your chest for as long as you can. Repeat the steps regularly until the pain disappears.
Cobra Stretch – Most of us spend the larger part of our day sitting. It is important to have a proper posture when sitting, since improper positions can make certain muscles slouch, thus causing pain and discomfort in the back. This exercise is actually a pose in yoga which works to counter the effect that occurs in muscles due to sitting.
How to do the Cobra Stretch
The initial position requires you to lie flat on the ground, on your stomach. Then, keeping your hands on the floor, pull yourself upwards. Ensure that your head leans back, while the legs and hips stay flat on the ground. The stretch plays an important role in opening the back, and reduces the effect of sitting all day.
Swan Dive and Flat Back – A very common cause of sciatic pain is that the sciatic nerve gets trapped somewhere along its length, leading to pain and discomfort. This exercise is intended to tighten the nerve, thus freeing it of any kink it may have got caught into.
Stand straight in an upright position, keeping your feet close together. Next, raise your hands above your head and keeping the elbows straight, bring them together so they can touch each other. The next step involves you to lower down your arms in an attempt to touch your feet.
The three exercises highlighted above can play an important part in improving your flexibility and loosening your sciatic nerve. However, these do not offer immediate results, and you must give them some time before you expect results from these activities.
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