Sciatica is a common and painful condition that will affect up to 40% of Americans at some point during their lifetime. However, for residents of Lakewood, sciatica can be even more debilitating. Lakewood offers a wide range of physical activities, including running, skiing, and hiking, and sciatica can significantly limit your ability to participate. Additionally, muscle knots called trigger points can contribute to and worsen pain and discomfort, lengthening recovery time and keeping you sidelined even longer.
In this article, we will explore the most common trigger points for sciatica sufferers and explain how partnering with an experienced chiropractor can provide relief.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that affects the sciatic nerve, the longest and thickest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and extends through the legs and feet, is responsible for providing sensation to the lower extremities and aiding in localization. Excessive pressure on the sciatic nerve can lead to inflammation of the nerve and the development of sciatica.
Sciatica typically manifests in one leg but can affect both. Symptoms of sciatica include:
- Burning, shooting, or radiating pain that can extend from the lower back into the feet
- Numbness or weakness in the affected leg and foot
- A “pins-and-needles” sensation in the affected leg
- Pain when twisting, bending, rotating, or when standing from a seated or supine position.
Sciatica is typically caused by one or more of the following:
- Postural issues
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Poor sleeping habits
- Strenuous exercises
- Trauma or injury to the lumbar spine or sciatic nerve
In acute cases, sciatica may resolve on its own within a few weeks; however, chronic cases may not resolve if left untreated. Moreover, factors such as trigger points can also contribute to sciatica.
What Are the Trigger Points for Sciatica?
Trigger points are discrete, tender, and irritable knots that are located within a band of musculoskeletal tissue. They typically develop from the buildup of stress on muscle fibers from acute trauma or repetitive microtrauma. Often, these trigger points can produce local pain but also refer pain and typically accompany other musculoskeletal disorders.
Trigger points can develop in various muscles along the pathway of the sciatic nerve as well as in muscles that can potentially affect the sciatic nerve when their normal function is disrupted. Trigger points for sciatica cause symptoms or worsen them by generating:
- Muscle tension and compression: The pain caused by trigger points can cause muscle tension and stiffness in the affected muscle and surrounding tissue, compressing nearby nerves, including the sciatic nerve.
- Changes in movement patterns: Trigger points commonly cause muscles to become weak, affecting normal movement patterns. These muscle imbalances can cause excess stress and strain on the sciatic nerve.
- Referred pain: Trigger points can refer pain along the sciatic nerve without directly affecting the nerve. This can easily be mistaken for sciatica, as the symptoms mimic those of sciatica.
Here’s a chart comparing trigger point locations for sciatica and how associated conditions can cause or worsen sciatica.
|Trigger Points for Sciatica|
|Muscle||Muscle Location||Description||Conditions That Can Irritate Trigger Point|
|Piriformis Muscle||Deep within the gluteal region||The piriformis is a muscle that runs along the lower area of the spine into the thigh. When irritated, it can tighten, narrowing and compressing the sciatic nerve and causing pain.||Piriformis syndrome and SI joint dysfunction|
|Gluteus medius||Side of the hip and thigh||The gluteus medius is a major buttock muscle located on the outer side of the hip that provides hip abduction and stabilization.Dysfunction or weakness of the muscle can cause it to alter movement patterns, which can irritate the sciatic nerve.||Hip bursitis and gluteal tendinopathy|
|Hamstrings||Back of the thigh||The hamstrings are a group of muscles located on the back of the thigh that provide mobility to the knee. If they become tight or imbalanced, excess pressure can cause the sciatic nerve to become inflamed.||A hamstring strain or herniated lumbar disc|
|Quadratus lumborum||Lower back and above the hip||The quadratus lumborum is a muscle located in your lower back on either side of the lumbar spine. It connects the spine to the pelvis, providing stability for the lower back and pelvis. If it becomes weak or imbalanced, it can cause the weight from the body to bear down onto the sciatic nerve.||Lumbar muscle strains and spinal stenosis|
|Iliopsoas||Front of the hip||The Iliopsoas is a muscle located on the front of the hip that provides mobility and flexion to the hip. Weakness in the muscle can lead to pelvic imbalances and postural issues that can cause sciatica by overburdening the sciatic nerve.||Iliopsoas tendinitis and hip labral tears|
|Erector spinae||Along the spine||Erector spinae are a group of muscles that run along the length of the spine and provide the main support structure for the vertebrae of the spine. Injured or weakened erector spinae may not be able to control weight distribution along the lower body, which includes the sciatic nerve.||Lumbar muscle spasms, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis|
Chiropractic Care Provides Effective Relief for Sciatica
If you’re experiencing pain from sciatica, what can you do for relief? Thankfully, there are effective solutions such as chiropractic care. Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts who can provide an effective first line of defense from trigger points for sciatica.
Chiropractic is a holistic, gentle, and non-invasive approach to treating symptoms that can have a long-lasting impact on your health.
- Manual adjustments: With the use of chiropractic adjustments, often called spinal manipulation, chiropractors apply gentle, controlled force to the specific joints in the spine to alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve and reduce irritation caused by trigger points.
- Massage therapy: By using soft tissue therapies that target trigger points directly, chiropractors can eliminate the pain caused by sciatica. Such treatments include deep tissue massages and soft tissue mobilization that can break up muscle knots, reduce tension, and improve mobility and muscular stability.
- Exercise and rehabilitation: Specific exercises and stretches can strengthen and stabilize muscles that can develop trigger points and affect the sciatic nerve.
Like any treatment, the most important part of chiropractic care is to ensure the true cause(s) of your symptoms are addressed to prevent your symptoms from returning.
PostureWorks Offers the Best Sciatica Treatments in Lakewood
At PostureWorks, we’re dedicated to the Lakewood community, meaning we’re committed to eliminating pain and discomfort that keeps our residents from participating in their favorite activities and lowers their quality of life.
That’s why we use treatment strategies like Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) to eliminate the true cause of your pain. CBP is a truly proactive approach to chiropractic care that combines chiropractic adjustments, postural exercises, and neuromuscular reeducation to resolve your sciatica at the root. We also offer massage therapy to relieve common trigger points for sciatica sufferers. This way, you can get back to living a pain-free life.
Contact us today to learn more about trigger points for sciatica or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.