Wallet and Sciatica
Do you have any idea that wallets can lead to extreme pain in the lower back in men? It is not about shortage of money that cause it but it is a small wallet that put stress on the lower back and cause sciatica in several cases. On the other hand, several studies explain the advantages of a thin wallet. These do not look great in appearance but still it can decrease the risk of issues including lower back pain. Basically, thick wallet keeps the person’s posture incorrect due to which it can injure the sciatic nerve and can causes sciatica. There are many things that you need to carry like bills, identity cards and credit cards so it is difficult to carry it in a tiny wallet. Here we will mention how a small wallet can lead to sciatica.
There are many physiotherapists who have stated that numbers of men suffering from back ache is increasing and reason for this is supposedly wallet. Some experts who have done research about it come to know that men who sit along with wallets in back pockets have a tendency to damage the key nerves that runs in the lower back part. Such situations should not be ignored because it is commonly increasing and it is usually reported by the people who drive along with wallet in the back pocket. As the rate of this condition is increasing among people so it has been given a particular name ‘wallet-neuropathy’ or ‘hip-pocket-syndrome’
It was famous by an episode of the "Seinfeld" series in the year of 1990’s. For the first time this phenomenon was explained in the short article in 1966 in The New England Journal of Medicine when credit cards were started to flourish.
The case of lawyer who was suffering from pain and aches in the left leg not because of thick wallet along charge cards associated to the condition as "credit-carditis."
Even this term never caught but doctors say this condition is increasing commonly. It started slowly caused by the thing that strains on the piriformis muscle in the buttocks that is linked to the sciatic nerve which runs down the leg.
Eventually a person can feel radiating pain in the part of hip and back. When the nerve is pressed by the wallet it may cause unwanted strain on the sciatic nerve that is severe condition and can cause numbness in the foot, lower leg, and ankle. It can make hard to lie down, walk around as well as sit comfortably. The standing position can help.
If a person is bearing this condition or keep wallet in back pocket he should contact physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will recommend some treatments as well as exercise to prevent the unbearable pain. On the other hand, if the case is not serious then it can be sufficient to ease the pain.
Thin wallet was another option as it was mentioned above. For using it, one should avoid keeping extra stuff such as photos, receipts or any useless stuff. Try to keep important stuff such as credit cards or identity cards. One can buy money clip or thin wallet for this reason.
The sciatic nerve has gained a bad reputation for itself, by being the cause of terrible pain in the back and leg. This has even led to its naming after the real condition it causes and that is sciatica. Sciatica is caused when a nerve in your back gets pinched, leading to pain in your lumbar spine, legs, feet and /or buttocks. Complaints about sciatic nerve pain are often misdiagnosed, as the main theory to explain this type of condition is not totally reliable.
When the root of the spinal nerve freeing the neuroforaminal openings of the vertebral bones, it can suffer from physical compression. This is known as radiculopathy, compressive neuropathy or radicular pain condition. Another condition called pseudo-sciatica is defined as pain in the leg and back, which is not brought about by a spinal problem. Common varieties of this condition include sacroiliac pain and piriformis syndrome.
The main basis for diagnosing sciatica is the pinching off of a root nerve by some spinal structure. The structure could be a ruptured or extruded disc, a herniated disc or an osteophyte. Very often, these have been diagnosed, as the source causing pain in many patients. However, most of these conditions are proved to be asymptomatic and innocent by anatomical evidence. A nerve root, in order to get affected it would require the whole foraminal space to be closed. This is, however, rarely the case. The structure may sometimes merely touch the nerve without leading to compression, or might not touch on the nerve. Another fact known about sciatica is that if the nerve root is continuously compressed, it can lead to dysfunction of that neurological structure. This will result is objective numbness and not the subjective numbness, pain and tingling often experienced by those suffering from a sciatic condition.
Now days, many patients are being diagnosed of pseudo- sciatica. Sacroiliac joint pain is wrongly being termed as sacroiliac joint dysfunction or sacroiliitis. This joint is in fact one of the toughest joints and rarely degenerates or injures. Many doctors believe it comes about after an injury caused to the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. Though this diagnosis is not validated, it is often wrongly arrived at; when in fact the condition could be idiopathic sciatica as well as simple back pain.
Patients complaining of sciatica are told that some structure in the spine is pinching or compressing the sciatic nerve. This, anatomically speaking, is not possible, since, the sciatic nerve does not join into the spine column directly. This nerve is in fact the largest nerve in the body which consists of branches from S1, S2, S3, L4 and L5 spinal nerve roots. Most often, the symptoms do not justify the diagnosis made, and yet, spinal problems are wrongly considered as the cause. To give an example, a patient may suffer from pain in the leg, lower back and buttocks. This pain is diagnosed as being caused by a herniated disc. But the symptoms are too many to be explained by one herniation, because the nerve root doesn't serve any function in many of the areas which experience pain. Therefore it is a wrong diagnosis; moreover, such misjudgements are common leading to unsuccessful treatment of sciatica around the world.
The condition of sciatica is often considered to be chronic and unresponsive to treatment. This is mainly because of wrong diagnosis, unnecessary surgeries and ignorance of doctors towards this condition.
McKenzie exercises (named after the physical therapist Robin McKenzie) can be helpful during the time when sciatica pain becomes acute as well as inflammation occurs too (even they have an advantage as a preventive exercise form). McKenzie exercises are mostly linked with extension i.e. spine’s backward bending, but actually they are related to testing for, and after that exercising in, stretches and positions that ease or create symptom’s "centralization".
The meaning of centralization is that the symptoms move nearer to the spin e.g. if you experience low back pain with sciatica (leg pain), centralization would be actually the point where the symptoms lessen or leave in the leg, no matter whether the pain remains stays the same or it gets worse in the low back or butts. With the passage of time, in several cases the low back and buttock pain will improve in conditions where early centralization is attained.
Most of the time there is an advantage of the spine’s extension in order to reduce or centralize pain, McKenzie exercises are mostly known as "McKenzie Extension Exercises", but original McKenzie Technique in reality tests for the position(s) that are good for every single patient.
McKenzie exercises mostly involve extension of the spine but they can also involve flexion too (forward bending), rotation and/or side bending- it depends on the position that reduces or centralizes the symptoms.
The following stretches/positions from McKenzie technique are the most common ones that are helpful. Some other positions can be helpful too. Initially you may feel some pain because you start moving into a new position. Once you get into one position, wait for 30 seconds to one minute in order to see the reaction on symptoms. Remember to find a position that relieves the symptoms i.e. away from the spine.
The best position is the one that moves the pain away especially if you have sciatica pain all over the foot. If your sciatica is in the butt and thigh, the best position is the one that helps in moving the pain away from the butts and thigh, even though it becomes severe in the low back.
Avoid any such position that can make the symptoms WORSE. The best thing is to continue testing various positions till you find the best one to reduce the symptoms i.e. away from the spine. Hold that position for a minute or 2 and after that take 30 seconds break i.e. in neutral position. Repeating this position frequently can be beneficial, if it continue to offer relieve from the symptoms i.e. away from the spine.
For the most commonly effective helpful McKenzie exercises here are some illustrated instructions.
- Exercise #1 - At first lie on your stomach on a firm surface like the floor and prop up upper part of the body on your elbows whereas keep your hips/pelvis on the floor. At a time hold this position for at least 30 seconds to one minute or more. Bend your upper part of the body left and right just to know the position that centralizes or alleviates the symptoms the most. You can repeat this quite often in a day especially during acute flare-ups.
Low Back and Sciatica (Acute Symptom Care):
- Exercise #2 - An alternate exercise is the "Cat" stretch. For this exercise just get on your knees and hands and gradually relax your abdominal and back muscles in such a way that your stomach hangs down while your lower back curves downwards. Your head must be raised, looking ahead of you. Keep this position for at least 30 seconds to one or two minutes. You can repeat this often in a day whenever you need it.
- Exercise #3 - As shown in figure you can use an exercise ball to stretch the back in extension. For balancing on the ball, take someone’s help to hold the ball still. You can maintain this position for several minutes, but do not forget t your head up after every few minutes in order to avoid lightheadedness. In case if you do not have an exercise ball, use one or two pillows and place it below the low back to keep it in extension.
- Exercise #4 - McKenzie exercises are generally linked with spinal extension (backward bending), but actually, McKenzie technique make use of any position that centralizes or alleviates symptoms in which flexion is included too (forward bending). As illustrated flexion stretch of the spine can be performed on an exercise ball, or stack of pillows can be used to perform, or even sofa’s arm. Do not use this position for longer duration i.e. not more than a minute as it can cause worsening of disc problems.
These exercises can be continued as a preventive measure even if the once symptoms are vanished. Use of just straight extension in absence of any symptoms (like in Exercises 1 and 3) works effectively for the purpose of prevention.
How To Fix Sciatica Pain
Sciatica nerve pain is a painful condition, and not all known forms of treatment work in every case. It may work for some but not for others. However, health experts agree that Piriformis syndrome stretches are very effective in treatment of the condition. This method involves the use of pain relievers along with anti-inflammatory drugs, and the combination is best effective when put in use with a set of pre-defined exercises. All these together form one of the best healing options for sciatica and the Piriformis syndrome.
However, you must also understand that performing sciatica relief exercises such as Piriformis syndrome stretches alone to relieve sciatica pain will not do much good to treat the condition. You may relieve yourself from the associated pain, but that is pretty much it. Most people are of the opinion that if the pain goes away, so does the problem. This is, however, not true in this case, and is also one of the major reasons of recurring.
For those who are unaware, the sciatica nerve consists of a relatively long collection of nerve fibres. These start from the lower spine, and go down to the hips and buttocks, and to each leg. When any form of compression occurs throughout its length, it results in pain, or even numbness in some cases.
Piriformis syndrome is associated with the piriformis muscle which is located deep within the hips. The condition is triggered when this muscle undergoes abnormal activity, such as pinching, irritating or compressing the sciatic nerve. Now, there are some similarities between sciatica and Piriformis syndrome, and this sometimes leads to confusion among the two. Symptoms of the syndrome include tingling sensation or numbness in the lower back and also the buttocks. In some situations, this numbness is known to extend down to the legs, affecting one or even both. Some less occurring symptoms include burning, sharp and shooting pain which also affects the above mentioned areas.
Piriformis syndrome stretches
The stretches, as quite obvious, work by helping the muscles loosen and stretch, and this method also includes the same activity for various other muscle groups. Practitioners of Piriformis syndrome stretches may recommend a series of movements to aid in the healing process. We cite a simple one below.
Lay down flat on your back on a hard surface, and gently cross your affected leg over the other. To stretch, move your leg such that the back of the knee of your affected leg lies over the knee of the other. The next movement requires you to gently curl, such that you can cup your lower knee.