• Dr. Julie Mclaughlin & Dr. Jacob McNamara

Wellness Wednesday What is Sciatica / Home Exercises That May Help


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Hey, Dr. McNamara here coming at you with the Wellness Wednesday. And what we're going to talk about today is something we see in the office all the time. It's called a sciatica, it's pain that comes from the sciatic nerve. And I'm sure you guys have heard this term before, and maybe some of you have experienced this, or know family members or friends that are also experiencing this kind of symptom.


So what the said nerve is, it's a big thick nerve. It's about the width of two to three fingers wide, and it stems from our low back. It actually comes from our lumbar spine. It comes from five different nerve roots, and most people, it comes from the L four L five S one S two and S3 nerve roots.


And then I'll pretend like I'm showing you on my left side. Cause we got two sag nerves on both sides, but what it does is it travels and it comes out underneath what the piriformis muscle is. And I'm sure I've talked about this in other videos, that's a muscle that's often irritated. It's involved for external rotation of the hip and then travels down the back of the leg where the hamstrings are located.


And then it splits at the knee into the tibial nerve and the common fibular nerve, and then goes down the knee into the foot. So you can be experiencing sciatica. It can go all the way from the butt, all the way down into the foot. And what I'm going to show you right now is just some at-home exercises that we can do that will relieve some of this pain.


Now we need to know what's generating the pain to really treat and solve the issue. So it doesn't come back. And in that case, you should see a medical professional that is trained in diagnosing this condition and treating it as well. Such as chiropractors. We do this in our office all the time and these things that could be insulting that nerve, it could be disc.


It could be muscle related that, that piriformis, and it could also just be myofascial adhesions throughout that back of the leg hamstring area. And I'm going to show you the treatment primarily for that third one, that adhesions of that nerve. So the exercises we're going to do is called nerve tensioning and nerve flossing. And I'll do it as if it was on my left leg.


I'm experiencing the pain down the left leg all the way into my knee, possibly down into my foot as well. So if it's really, really acute, I would start tensioning on the right side because in our spine, our nurse all come towards the middle of the spine. So if we're tensioning this side, this is still going to get a little bit of treatment, but I'll show you this one first.


This is the step one. So what we want to do this one is for tensioners. You want to keep the joint. You want to put tension at two joints, different joints. So we're worried about the hip and the ankle gliding. We're going to focus on one. So tensioning first on the opposite side of the symptomatic leg.


So you're going to point your toe up, bring your leg up perpendicular to the floor. And then what you want to do is dorsal flex that foot pointed upwards, and then just go straight up until you feel that tension. And then back down, up, down, up down, and you can do this anywhere from five to about 30 reps, whatever feels best for you.


If you want to intensify it a little bit, you can bring the tension up this way. And if you want a little bit easier, you can actually bring the other light up. So that's level one, level two would be the nerve gliding. So I'm going to go back to my left leg. This is the symptomatic leg that we're feeling the pain coming down now for this one, we're focusing on keeping the tension at one joint, but also moving the opposite joint.


So this is called nerve flossing. And the way we do this, as you're going to find that point about perpendicular to the floor, if you want to make it harder, you can pull it in. You want to make it easier to lift the leg up, but I'll show you just the regular.


And then for this one, we're not going to worry about bringing the toe as much for we're actually going to point it at the top. So as we go up, we're going to point the back down. So I'm keeping it anchored at the hip and I'm causing movement at the ankle joint, the floss that nerve in between those mild fascial adhesions to break up those adhesions.


So I showed you the tensioner on the right side. Then I showed you the level two flossing on the left side, on the left symptomatic leg. Now level three is tensioning on the left side. So it's going to be the exact same as the right.


So we're going to dorsal flex that foot and we're going to cause that nerve tension and then back down, same thing as the first one, but this one's on the symptomatic side. This can be pretty intense. So start with the other two before giving this one a try, but if you're experiencing sciatic nerve pain, these should ease the symptoms.


It should cause them to come more centralized toward the spine and help out with those kinds of aches and pains as well as hamstring, tightness, rested, lower leg tightness.


So that's all we have for you today on Wellness. Wednesday, come see us in our office and we'll catch you then.

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