What is causing the pain in your back, buttock, thighs, calves, or feet? What is the movement, position, injury, or thing causing the pain to occur? We refer to the cause of your sciatica/back pain as a “pain maker”.
Your job will be to figure out what the pain makers are in your life. We will show you how to avoid them. We estimate your pain levels can improve by 50% or more just by eliminating the pain makers in your world.
Common pain makers for back pain and sciatica:
Most cases of sciatica are caused by a herniated or bulging disc. But what caused the herniated or bulging disc?
We provide this simple demonstration to our patients. We use two coffee cups shaped like back bones (vertebra) to represent two bones from your low back. We use a gel filled ball to represent the disc that is located in between the bones of the low back. The discs act as cushions between the bones in your spine.
With a healthy disc you can bend forward as demonstrated in photo A or sit as portrayed in photo B and initially nothing happens to the disc.
However, in both positions you are putting stress on the back part of the discs. The back part of the discs may start to weaken with repeated stress due to poor lifting techniques and poor posture as well as when you age. See photo C.
The repeated stress may eventually cause a crack in the disc to occur. With more time and more stress, the gel in the disc may even seep through the wall of the disc. Some people refer to this as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, although the whole disc does not slip or rupture.
Once the disc herniates, it may press or irritate one of the nerve roots coming off of your spinal cord. The pressure on the nerve root can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations down your leg.
In our opinion, the main contributing factor causing a herniated or bulging disc is repeated poor positioning of your back. This is your pain maker.
Repeated and prolonged poor positioning of your back will almost always result in some sort of back pain or sciatica. In addition, your disc may not heal if you continue to put your back in poor positions.
The most common position culprits are slumping, slouching, or curved postures of the spine. Poor positioning of your back can occur when you are picking up keys from the floor, getting out of bed, making the bed, vacuuming, picking up laundry, or when you are sitting at your computer. All these activities can be pain makers if performed with incorrect technique.
Below are examples of pain makers:
Picking up small objects from the floor incorrectly
Getting out of bed incorrectly
Making a bed incorrectly
Picking up a laundry basket incorrectly
Staring at a screen with head forward posture and rounded back
Examine each photo carefully. You will note the common denominator. Each of the images shares one trait: a back that is in a slumped, slouched, or curved position. Sadly, this is a common position for most of us when standing, carrying, lifting, and sitting. It is often referred to as the C position because the back resembles a Giant C. THE C POSITION IS A COMMON PAIN MAKER.
Placing your back in the C position can cause, increase, and/or perpetuate back pain and sciatica. The C position is stressful and harmful to many parts of your back. The stress becomes most evident when the C position is repeated frequently or held over a prolonged period. If you are recovering from sciatica, the C position can delay your healing.
The C position held over a prolonged period can also cause the ligaments holding the vertebra together to slowly stretch out. As they stretch out, the spine becomes less stable.
Furthermore, your back parts are more apt to move out of proper position when your back is in the C position. In general, your back is more likely to “go out” when your back is frequently in the C position. When your back parts “go out” of position, you are likely to experience increased pain and discomfort.
The reverse is also true. Keep your back in the correct position and posture and it is very difficult for the ligaments to stretch out or the back parts to move out of place. We refer to the correct position of the spine as “a locked in spine”. The spine is locked in the correct, safe position.
The critics will say “I have been placing my back in the C position for years and have not experienced any problems”. Bravo for you, but beware. You are not Gumby and you are not Pokey.
Check out the full Sciatica series of videos along with downloadable guide sheets for each video on our website.
DISCLAIMER We insist that you see a physician before starting this video series. Furthermore, this video series is not designed to replace the treatment of a professional: physician, osteopath, physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon, or chiropractor. It may however serve as an adjunct. Do not go against the advice of your health care professional. When under the care of a professional make certain that they approve of all that you try. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. Any information given about back-related conditions, treatments, and products is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this publication. Before starting an exercise program, consult a physician.
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