Archive for September, 2011

Living With Osteoarthritis

There is no definitive cure for osteoarthritis. However, it doesn’t need to get worse, there are many treatments and exercises that can help ease the pain and discomfort so you can continue to enjoy life. This article will look at various osteoarthritis treatments and explore how simple life style changes can dramatically reduce pain and discomfort.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 1 million people in the UK every year. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the knees, hips and the small joints of the hands and toes, but any joint can be affected. The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain of the joints, stiffness and difficulty moving. Despite there being no cure, there are ways of preventing arthritis conditions and a wide variety of osteoarthritis treatments that reduce pain and discomfort, helping those affected live a normal life.

The most important decision one can make is to adopt a healthy life style. This can be one of the easiest and most effective treatments for osteoarthritis and arthritic conditions. If implemented early enough in life, a healthy life style can prevent these types of conditions later in life. However, even if diagnosed, a well balanced diet and regular exercise can make a huge difference to the amount of pain and discomfort experienced with these conditions.

– In many cases weight is identified as a cause for osteoarthritis, in these cases simply losing weight can reduce and cease the symptoms experienced. Swimming has been identified as an extremely good form of exercise for helping with arthritis. Running can also help by strengthening your muscles as well as helping you to lose weight that may be directly causing your condition.

Another vital step to take in order to live with osteoarthritis is to take your medication. Some people stop taking medication if they feel symptoms have got better or ceased. With long term conditions such as osteoarthritis it is important to take your medication as prescribed. You should also speak to your local GP if you are thinking of taking over the counter osteoarthritis treatment such as pain killers and nutritional symptoms, as these can sometimes interfere with your prescribed medication.

As with any long term condition it is important to visit you local GP regularly for checkups and review. This will also help you develop a trustworthy and personal relationship with your GP, this can be extremely helpful and comforting when dealing with a condition such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. Regular reviews will also allow your GP to assess your condition and suggest other osteoarthritis treatment such as exercise, weights lose or in more serious cases injections and surgery.

Finally it is important to look after yourself. Those suffering with osteoarthritis are often encouraged to get a yearly flu vaccination as well as an anti-pneumococcal vaccination, which helps fight against a serious chest infection called pneumococcal pneumonia.

To conclude, osteoarthritis is a condition that is most common as you get older. It can be a painful and uncomfortable condition but it need not ruin your life. There are many osteoarthritis treatments out there, by finding the treatment that works for you, you can dramatically reduce the pain and disc.

New Hope For People With Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a common problem in people between the ages of 30 and 50 and usually occurs due to the normal and natural process of age-related deterioration that is often related to stress. It is one of the most common ailments that are observed by doctors across the globe. Accidents that result in traumatic injury lead to chronic back pain and medical evaluation processes like X-rays, CT scans, MRI, bone scans, etc. help detect the exact site of the injury. However, in most patients the cause of the pain is unknown and medical cannabis from a Medical Cannabis dispensary provide immense and long-term relief from this kind of pain. While some types of pains can be attributed to the lack of a healthy lifestyle, stress and no exercise, there are other reasons like arthritis or damaged and pinched nerves that this type of pain can be attributed to. The pain can either be sharp stabbing or burning (Neuropathic) or is observed as a dull ache or sense of pressure (Nociceptive).

It is found to be a lot more effective when compared with over the counter medicines such as aspirin or ibuprofen. While they lessen the pain to some extent, these also case ulcerous conditions and affect the digestive system. Besides, these pain medications are also addictive. Conventional treatment therapies that use over the counter NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that provide temporary relief are gradually being replaced by medical marijuana treatment that also negates other problems like prescription medication dependency (addiction), anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Medical Marijuana offers sufferers of chronic back pain a new solution and often a complete relief from this painful condition. and some believe that there is a much better treatment solution for back pain by using medical cannabis. Medical Marijuana that is supplied to patients through a Medical Cannabis dispensary reduces the intensity of chronic pain without any associated side effects that are observed during the prolonged use of OTC medicines or prescribed medicines.

Medical Marijuana has helped scores of patients who suffer from acute back pain by providing relief. Often within six to eight weeks of treatment patients are able to successfully control the condition before it becomes chronic and more serious. When other conventional forms of treatment and therapy have failed Medical Cannabis has been successful in helping people cope with their pain and empowering them to live a normal, high quality, active life.

Looking for a Remedy? Sciatica Solutions That Work

Sciatic pain can occur at anytime and often without an obvious reason. For people who suffer from this sometimes chronic condition, routine life can be quickly disrupted. The sciatic nerve is so large, running from the back of the buttocks all the way down to the toes; that flare-ups can make it feel almost impossible to move. While your first reaction to the pain may be to get some bed rest, most physicians agree that this is one of the worst things that you can do.

Sciatic pain is described as a gnawing, aching, or burning pain that normally starts in the back and radiates down one leg. When the sciatic nerve is compressed at any location, the entire nerve tends to swell and sends a pain response throughout much of the body. For this reason, many people have a difficult time knowing where the pain originates from or what they have done to aggravate the condition. The truth is that sciatica can flare-up due to over use of the muscles, an injury, from sleeping wrong or even wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.

At Home Remedy for Sciatica:

In the beginning, one of the best solutions to the pain is to apply ice packs to the areas that are the most tender or painful. Make sure that you wrap the ice in a towel, or use ice packs that have a covering so you don’t over freeze the skin. Ice is good for reducing inflammation and swelling. Even though you may not be able to visibly see inflammation, chances are the nerve is swollen. The tenderest spots on your back, legs, or calf are likely the place where the nerve is being compressed or is injured. Apply ice for 20 minutes on and off as many times as possible during the day.

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Heat is also a great solution for sciatic pain. You should take caution NOT to use heat in the very beginning of the flare-up. Heat generally increases blood flow in the area, which can actually make sciatic pain more painful if the swelling of the nerve hasn’t been dealt with. Remember, utilize ice for the first 1-3 days, and then begin applying heat, which will encourage healing. It is also a good idea to alternate ice and heat in 20 minutes increments.

Likely, you feel like you can barely move – or when you do, the pain gets worse. But sitting still or even lying down for extended periods of time is actually one of the worst things you can do. Instead, try stretching. Stretching helps to alleviate nerve compression. Look for stretching exercise that focuses on your lower back and legs. When you find a stretch that feels particularly good – try to hold it for half a minute or more. Stretching every day is also a preventative remedy sciatica sufferers should implement as part of their daily routine. If the pain seems to be centered in the lower back, buttocks or hips – don’t forget to extend and stretch your feet as well because the sciatic nerve travels all the way into the toes.

A lot of people turn to medications for sciatica. Over the counter pain, relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin are designed to deal with pain and inflammation. For the most part, these are simply a ‘band-aid’ cure. Be careful that you aren’t simply masking the pain by taking pain relievers and make sure to continue to stretch, exercise, and apply hot and cold compresses.

In the long term, stretching and exercise are your best defenders against sciatica. If you seem to have continual bouts of sciatic pain, you should partake in stretching exercises every day BEFORE you work out. Additionally, take notice of your exercise program to ensure that you are not exercises improperly, which could be leading to the pain and discomfort that you feel.

Hand and Arm Massage Techniques

With the immense benefits that massage offers, it is an advantage for you to learn a few procedures that you can perform at home so that it is not always necessary to go to the massage clinic for an expensive session. One of the easiest forms of massage that you can give and receive is massage of the hands and arms. This article presents some quick and simple massage techniques that you can perform and immediately employ.

One of the main reasons why this form of massage is important is because our arms and hands are constantly used for all of our various day-to-day activities. It is only fair that they undergo healing massage on occasion so that they can retain their desired strength and continue to perform their required functions.

When you massage the hands and arms, you increase blood circulation to the area. This is suggested to be beneficial in preventing diseases such as arthritis, which can be precipitated by blood that is not flowing freely.

To begin the massage, you need to apply an oil which allows the movements that you will make when kneading the muscles in the treatment. You can start by applying this oil to one hand while using the other for the massage.

– Bend one arm at the elbow and start by massaging the wrist area in little circles.
– You are then to work in a circular motion to the end of the fingers and back five times.
– You can also stretch each finger and then the thumb in turns in between the finger and the thumb. This serves to stimulate the flow of blood to these areas.
– You then follow this procedure by rotating your fingers clockwise for a few moments and anticlockwise for a few moments.
– The hand is then turned over and gently rubbed from the center of the wrist to the palm. This procedure should preferably be done with alternate thumbs. This causes an effect of relaxation to the nervous system, making you feel refreshed and revitalized.

With the assistance of the recipient, you can rotate their hands at the end of the wrist clockwise and then anticlockwise. This also helps them in building the strength of their wrist to avoid fragility.

The arm can also be bent at the elbow and placed across the chest, while your free hand is used to massage that arm from the shoulder down to their elbow.

Finally you can bring the arm down to their side and rub the whole arm in one long movement. When you complete this, it is recommended that you repeat the same movement after covering the arm. with a towel so that any excess oil is not left on the skin.

The massage techniques outlined above will not only relieve the body of tension and pain experienced in the arms and hands, but will also produce beautiful and well tendered arms. This will lead to relaxation and a sense of well-being in you.

Underwater Massage

More and more people are becoming aware of the health benefits of massage. A good massage can reduce stress and sooth aches and pains, making you feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. Another form of therapy that can provide great relaxation and healing is hydrotherapy, which uses water to relieve pain and treat illnesses. It is now possible for you to reap the benefits of these two kinds of therapy at the same time, and that is to go for an underwater massage.

It refers to a therapeutic treatment that uses a stream of water to massage the body. To receive this kind of massage, you have to lie in a bathtub, submerged in water that is 34 to 37 degrees Celsius. The stream of water comes from a nozzle, and it is applied at a pressure of 100 to 300 kPa. The nozzle is placed about two or three inches from the part of the body that is being massaged. The direction of the stream of water is changed according to the rules of massage, and the massage is performed in the same way as a manual massage, with rubbing stroking, and vibration. The therapist will move the nozzle in circular clockwise motions, working from the periphery to the center. The water from the nozzle may be enhanced with substances that are beneficial to your health, such as radon and sulphur. For the best effect, some spas may use mineral water to fill up the tub. Depending on which spa or massage center you go to, an underwater massage session can last between 15 to 30 minutes.This therapy is very beneficial, and it can restore balance and harmony to your body. The warm water that is used in the therapy makes your body feel less tensed and stressed. Performed with varying pressure, the massage can enhance the health of your skin as well as the deeper layers of your muscles, joints, and internal organs. As such, it can increase muscle elasticity and joint mobility. It is also effective in improving your blood and lymph circulation, making the tissues and organs in your body healthier. Additionally, underwater massage can be performed to treat minor aches, pains, and injuries. Athletes who are suffering from injuries can be treated with low pressure underwater massage. However, it is not a good idea to use this method to treat recent wounds and injuries. After you have received an underwater massage, you will immediately feel calmer, healthier, and cleaner. Underwater massage can be a wonderful treat if you are feeling really stressed and fatigued.

Nowadays, there are many spas and massage centers that offer underwater massage, and you can just call one of these places to find out about their packages or services. It is important that you make sure that the spa you choose has a qualified underwater massage therapist. The effectiveness of the therapy is largely dependent on the skills and experience of the therapist. If you manage to find a good therapist, you can rest assured that you will have a most pleasurable and invigorating underwater massage session.

Chronic Pain: The Elephant in the Room

Chronic pain may be invisible but it has a huge presence in the life of the pain patient. There is no doubt pain also affects the lives of everyone around the patient. Figuring out the best way to deal with the presence of chronic pain can be tricky. Often patients and their loved ones deal with it by ignoring it-they treat it like the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it’s there but no one talks about it. Although this coping strategy may work in the short-term, it is not a long-term solution.

Part of the reason both the patient and his/her family and friends ignore the pain is because they don’t know how to talk about it. After all, chronic pain is different. It is not as simple as a broken bone that will heal. It is complicated and unpredictable. Usually there is no “one cure” that will make the pain go away completely. When the patient experiences a flare-up or increase in pain, family and friends may feel helpless because there’s not much they can do to decrease the patient’s pain. Family and friends don’t know what to do or say to help a loved one who is dealing with an issue that compromises the patient’s quality of life on an ongoing basis. Patients get tired of answering the question, “How are you doing?” Both parties may feel resentment about the negative impact this condition has had upon their lives.

You must learn how to deal with the chronic pain elephant in the room to live with it successfully (this applies to both patients and family members). When the elephant in the room is ignored a whole new problem emerges-pain-related emotional distress. If left unchecked, the emotional stress related to the elephant can take over. The room gets cluttered with a mix of feelings that can include; unexpressed guilt, anger, sadness, anxiety and depression. As emotions build, the chronic pain elephant gets bigger, relationships are strained and everyone involved suffers unnecessarily.

The following tips from your Arizona pain specialists are provided to help you identify emotional distress risk factors and develop new ways to deal with chronic pain, whether; a) you are the pain patient or b) you are a family member or friend of a chronic pain patient.

What Makes the Elephant Grow Bigger?

Patient Risk Factors

  • Uncertainty about how to deal with and/or talk about the pain
  • Overdoing it because you don’t want to disappoint others or feel like a failure
  • Feeling resentment or anger about what you are no longer able to do
  • A history of poor self-esteem, or being the “go-to” person for family and friends
  • Not talking about your pain because you want to protect your family and not be a burden
  • Using isolation, sleep or medication to avoid the reality of what your life has become
  • Focusing only on the physical part of chronic pain and ignoring the emotional part
  • Trying to handle the chronic pain on your own-the stiff upper lip approach
  • Uncertainty about how much pain reduction to expect
Family/Friends Risk Factors

*Uncertainty about how to deal with and/or talk about the pain
*Protecting the patient from negative thoughts or feelings by not talking about them
*Overdoing it to help the pain patient and neglecting yourself
*Estimating the patient’s pain level based upon how they look
*Taking over and doing things for the patient he/she is capable of doing
*Expecting the patient to make scheduled activities
*Expecting the patient to be able to control his/her pain level
*Focusing mostly on finding a “cure” for the problem
*Focusing only on the physical part of chronic pain and ignoring the emotional part

Coping Strategies: How to Kick the Elephant out of the Room

  • Talk about it: The emotions related to chronic pain are as complicated as the condition itself. A great starting point is sharing how you feel about the chronic pain. The purpose is to open up communication-no one should feel guilty or blamed
  • Pick the right time to talk: It’s better to talk when the patient is in less pain and hasn’t just taken his/her pain medication. Minimize distractions and take a break if either person becomes too emotional
  • Don’t wait: Start talking now. The longer you wait, the more emotions build up and make it harder to communicate
  • Become a team: Commit to fighting the pain, not each other
  • Be mentally prepared: Accept that chronic pain is long-term. There will be good days and bad days
  • Confront the elephant: Keep tabs on how much emotional stress you feel and use it as your guide to determine how well you are handling the chronic pain
  • Don’t underestimate the elephant: It may seem easier to ignore the elephant, but doing so puts you at risk for unnecessary emotional suffering
  • Use moderation: Avoidance, denial, isolation and overdoing it sometimes work, but using them most or all the time doesn’t
  • Speak up: Tell family and friends how they can be supportive and helpful. Be an active participant in your doctor’s appointments and educate yourself about your diagnosis. Be a part of figuring out what works best for you
  • Know when to seek help: As stated earlier, successfully dealing with chronic pain is complicated. If you have tried to banish the elephant from the room and you are still struggling it may be helpful to seek treatment with a health psychologist to assist you.

5 Essential Guidelines When Choosing A Chiropractor For Sciatica

So you have sciatica! The pain is unbearable! You are contemplating whether a chiropractor might alleviate the pain or not. The easiest way to find out is to get a treatment from a chiropractor and see if that might help, right? WRONG! That might be the worst decision you ever made!!

And here is WHY.

In order for a sciatica treatment to be effective you need to know what caused the sciatica in the first place. Sciatica Pain also referred to as Sciatica have different causes.

1. Bulging or Herniated Disc

This occurs when the soft tissue (invertebral disc) between the bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column gets damaged and starts to protrude to one side. This soft tissue prevents the vertebral discs from grinding on each other. The protrusion can put pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain. In this case the chiropractor can bring relieve with low force techniques. The invertabral disc can also tear and the fluid inside this disc can leak. The fluid that leaked can irritate the sciatica nerve causing lots of unwanted pain. It is clear that in this scenario no chiropractic treatment will help.

2. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

When the channels within which the sciatic nerve is situated narrows it is called Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Narrowing can occur due to various reasons. One cause of narrowing can be Osteoporosis. Chiropractic treatment in this case might do more damage than good. In most other Lumbar Spinal Stenosis cases it will be quite safe to use chiropractic treatment to relieve the pain.

3. Spondylolisthesis

This condition occurs when the vertebrae (bones in the spine) slip out of alignment. This slip can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve. If this slip is caused due to bone degeneration (arthritis) or a bone fracture, then it is not advisable to go for chiropractic treatment. In most other instances chiropractic treatment might have a positive influence on your sciatica pain.

4. Trauma

When the sciatic nerve is damaged or compressed due to an accident or sport injury trauma would be the diagnosis. A car accident for instance might cause damage to the sciatica nerve itself. Another scenario may be where a bone fracture may protrude and put pressure on the sciatic nerve. In some instances in this situation chiropractic treatment can help.

5. Piriformis syndrome

The priformis muscle is responsible for upper leg movement. It is situated in the buttock area. The sciatic nerve passes next to this muscle and down the leg. In some people the sciatic nerve passes through the piriformis muscle. When the piriformis muscle is injured or swollen for any reason it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing the normal symptoms associated with sciatica. Patients normally react very positive on chiropractic treatment.

Choosing a Chiropractor

A last very important aspect to consider is how to choose the right chiropractor for treatment. I would advise following these guidelines when considering which chiropractor to use:

1. Ask questions. You need to know how the chiropractor is going to diagnose your condition. What treatment does he propose? How long will it take to see results from the treatment he is proposing?

2. Listen to his answers. Does he know what he is talking about? Does he ask you questions about your condition or does he jump straight into treatment? If he doesn’t identify the problem properly, how can he give you the right treatment for your unique problem? Is he asking for a more visible diagnosis like a MRI scan or even X-Rays?

3. Do some enquiries of your own. Read. Talk to people the chiropractor that you intend seeing has previously treated. Are they satisfied with their treatment? Use the internet for information. Remember knowledge is power. The more you know about your condition, the better you will know where to go for help.

4. Make sure to diagnose the sciatica before going to the chiropractor. See a General Practitioner. Let him diagnose the problem. Ask for X-rays or better yet a MRI scan. A chiropractor will be able to make a more informed diagnosis with all the visible information available and his treatment should be much more effective.

5. Credentials are very important. Most Chiropractors will frame their certificates, diplomas and degrees and put it on their office walls for public display. Read these and make sure the person is duly qualified to practice Chiropractic.

6. Lastly TRUST YOUR INNER VOICE. If you do not feel completely at ease with the chiropractor or with what he says, find another that make you feel at ease with.

To recap make sure you get the right diagnosis for your problem. Ask questions. Find out as much as you can about your condition. Be informed!!!

When you follow these guidelines you can be sure that the right chiropractor can make a huge positive difference to help cure your of sciatica.

The Steps To Recovery After Hip Replacement Surgery

It’s incredible how advancements in medical science and medical exploration currently help medical professionals to take care of individuals in countless fresh techniques. In prior years, while individuals endured from intense osteoarthritis that impacted and irritated their joints, just about all the individuals could possibly do was put up with the pain. With advanced knowledge in the field of orthopedics, recovery rates for patients have improved drastically.

The most that physicians had been capable to do to cut down the suffering of the individuals was to assign pain reducing prescription drugs, such as aspirin, which would perform for a few hours, but then the problems would revisit. Nowadays, on the other hand, doctors possess added therapies for the osteoarthritis patient. As an example, if osteoarthritis impacts the hip joints, the client can undergo hip replacement surgery for both soreness elimination and an improvement in flexibility. Individuals who have problems with arthritis in which affects their hip joints realize that the anguish can be terrible.

The problem becomes so bad that sufferers are usually not able to participate in the actions they took part in prior to their joint inflammation turned so significant. Activities, such as running, racquetball, and even playing golf, become no more than a recollection. Even activities such as walking becomes unpleasant so the people commonly find themselves staying home more rather than of going to parks or even shopping centers.

Any time hip discomfort resulting from arthritis gets severe and is not anymore controllable by pain medicines, doctors commonly suggest hip replacement surgery. Through hip replacement surgery, the original, natural hip joint is swapped out with an man-made, or metal, hip joint. The doctor will need to be mindful to place the prosthetic hip joint into place appropriately.

Of course, this is a joint that must operate appropriately and effortlessly if the individual is to regain full use of their hips. Without hip joints that operate appropriately, a patient may have difficulty walking and standing up. Soon after the surgical treatment is finished, the client should undergo physical therapy to assure that the joint is functioning suitably. Certain physical exercises are approved that the patient must carry out to have a faster recovery after hip replacement surgery.

If the patient participates in these activities vigilantly, the result is probably to be top notch following hip replacement surgery. The patient will have the ability to participate in hobbies that he or she seemed to be not capable to participate in for quite some period prior to the medical procedures.

The physical therapy physical exercises can make the recuperation process more effective and not as likely to encounter complications which will postpone recovery. For that reason, it is significant that the patient takes these workouts earnestly and genuinely works at them to be able to obtain the best end result in the most speediest method probable. Equally as in the case of knee surgery and its accompanying therapy that athletes commonly undertake, hip replacement patients employ a remedy and exercise routine of their very own.

The therapies and workouts affiliated with hip replacement surgery could occasionally be unpleasant, especially given that the affected person has only not too long ago had surgical treatment and now has to make use of muscles that have not been applied in a little while. Using these physical exercises, hip replacement patients will see that their prosthetic hip joints will let them to enjoy life and be involved in a assortment of physical activities just as knee surgery rehab is recognized for assisting athletes continue their athletics.

When Can Foot Drop Be Reversed?

A foot drop represents a patient’s inability to dorsiflex the foot (flex the foot towards the sky). There are a number of reasons it happens, and this article discusses foot drop that occurs from any reason outside of spine surgery. For instance, it can be the result of a spinal cord injury, stroke, tumor, or compression/injury to either the peroneal nerve or the lumbar nerve root itself.

When a patient develops a foot drop, the first important consideration is to figure out the cause. The primary contributor to a person being able to dorsiflex the foot is the L5 nerve root. Other nerve roots may help as well, such as L4, which can sometimes explain a partial foot drop. If the cause ends up being farther down the leg (more distal), it can be the peroneal nerve.

An electromyographic exam is a vital test to determining the level of the problem, whether it’s in the back or in the leg. Along with this, an MRI can be vital to seeing if there is a herniated disc pushing on the L5 nerve root. That would be the most common cause, but in certain instances even something rare like a spinal cord tumor may show up. One should have an extremely low threshold for ordering an MRI for evaluation of a foot drop.

If the electromyography and MRI are consistent with a herniated disc compressing a nerve root, then the answer is clear. But what’s the solution? There is no definitive answer as to how long it is acceptable to watch a foot drop. However, the current theory is that over 3 to 6 months it may be a permanent situation despite fixingthe problem. This means that if it is observed 6 months for improvement, none occurs, and then surgery is undertaken, it may never get better even with a perfectly done procedure.

So what’s the answer? Patients are different in healing capacities, so it’s not a black and white answer. But if a foot drop has been present for 3 months, heavy consideration should be given to decompressing the problem area. If this means a herniated disc on the L5 nerve root, a discectomy should be accomplished. If this means a compressed peroneal nerve, it is a short procedure to free it up.

It should never be ignored. The cause should be figured out, and then an action plan put into place. That may mean an observation period to see if it resolves, but after a certain point the risk of a permanent situation makes it prudent to take away the compression despite the surgical risks.

The Ten Best Things You Can Do to Overcome Sciatica

Sciatica refers to a pain that radiates from your back, through your buttocks and down your leg. It is due to pressure on the largest nerve in your body, your sciatic nerve. It can result from a herniated disk in your spinal column (disks are pads of cartilage that separate the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine) or from a muscle called the piriformis that starts at the lower end of your spinal column and is connected to your thigh bone. It can also be caused by a slipped disk or an injury.

More than half the population of the US suffers from sciatica at one time or another throughout their lives, and many people get it several times. In mild cases it goes away after a few weeks; in some cases, however, particularly those associated with disk problems, it can linger for many months.

The first thing you should do is try to find out what is causing the problem: an injured disk or pressure from the piriformis muscle. And fortunately there is a test that can tell you which of these is likely to be your problem.

In this article I’ll outline ten things that I found particularly helpful in dealing with sciatica. The first one is related to the test I mentioned above.

1. For the test, begin by lying on your back and lifting your affected leg straight up. Does it cause pain? Now, pull your leg into your chest with the knee bent. Again, note if there is pain. If the piriformis muscle is at fault, pain will occur in both cases – when the leg is straight and when it is bent. If it is a disk problem, on the other hand, the pain will only occur when the leg is straight. (If you’re sure you have a disk problem, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.)

2. The rest of the suggestions are best for people with a squeezed piriformis muscle, but they are also helpful for disk problems. First of all, some rest is usually needed, but limit it to a day or so. During this time apply cold packs to the affected area; they will help reduce the inflammation. Later you can alternate with hot packs.

3. Stretching exercises are particularly good. I will describe five that are very effective.

a) Lie on your back. Pull your legs into your chest one at a time and hold for 30 seconds. Release and relax for a few seconds. Do this about 10 times for each leg.

b) Remaining on your back, pull your leg up towards your chest, but this time also pull it across your body. Again hold it for 30 seconds. Also, do it for each leg about 10 times.
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c) Again, on your back, lift your leg straight up, pull on it with your hands locked behind it. Hold it for 30 seconds. Do 10 for each side.

d) Now, raise your knees up, move them to one side and hold them for 30 seconds, then do the same on the other side. Again, do 10 on each side

e) Finally, bend your unaffected leg so your knee is in the air. Pass your affected leg across and behind it and lock it in position, then reach through and grab your unaffected knee with your hands and pull it. Hold it for 30 seconds. Again, so this several times.

4. Aerobic Exercises are also particularly good. I found that bicycling was one of the best exercises of this type because it doesn’t stress the affected area. Try to go at least 20 minutes on a stationary bike if you have access to one. (I love the treadmill, but I found that it aggravated my injury if I did it for long.)

5. Many medications or drug such as aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol are helpful in alleviating the pain, but I’ll leave them to you and your doctor. Several were helpful to me, but nothing seemed to completely relieve the pain.

6. Another things that was very helpful to me was TENS (Transcutaneous electrical Nerve Stimulation) and EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation). They work by sending electrical pulses through the skin to stimulate the nerves. They are administered by chiropractors and physical therapist. Although they help relieve the pain they do nothing to cure the condition.

7. Another thing I found very helpful when the affected area was aching a lot was to stretch out on my back on a bed for about a half an hour and completely relax. I found it to be particularly helpful.

8. Massage by a professional masseur can also be helpful. Massage relaxes your muscles and can release some of the pressure from the piriformis muscle.

9. One of the most serious problems for me was an inability to sleep at night because of the persistent pain. I found that applying a heating pad to the affected area was very helpful.

10. Finally, if you’re sure the problem is due to one or more of your disks, or if it continues for several weeks, make sure you see a doctor. Chiropractors and physical therapists.