Are you suffering with back pain or sciatic pain?
Back pain is something that just about everyone suffers with at some point in his or her life. It may be an ache after gardening, DIY or after a long drive. But for many it can be more persistent involving the muscles, spinal joints or nerves and can effect daily life. The amount of pain felt is not always a good indicator of how serious the injury is; even a mild back problem can cause excruciating pain.
Each vertebra is linked to the one above and below by a joint called a facet joint. Sometimes these joints can become locked or misaligned, in the upper back this may affect the ribs too. The sacro-iliac joints or the coccyx, found in the pelvis may also give rise to problems.
Sciatica is a general term describing pain originating from irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. It can refer pain down into the buttock or down the leg, sometimes as far as the toes. Sciatica may be accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness, and pins and needles. Pain in the lower back isn’t always present with sciatic pain.
Sciatica is often associated with a bulging or herniated disc (often inaccurately called a 'slipped disc'). The disc doesn't 'slip' out of place but the walls can weaken and bulge out to one side or more seriously, herniate and irritate or press on the passing spinal nerves.
Our intervertebral discs take an enormous amount of trauma over the course of our lives and are commonly injured whilst lifting poorly when we combine spinal flexion and rotation that causes a shearing force on the disc fibres causing them to tear.
At different times of our lives we are prone to different types of disc injuries from the late teens and early twenties when our discs are at their healthiest to gradual degeneration and wear as we age. (spondylosis).