Without medicines and without surgery
Sciatica is a common problem that burdens a big share of the population health in advanced countries. Some of you do not know what exactly sciatica is, but if you have arrived here it is because you have read, or somebody has told you, that the sharp pains you are suffering these days in one or two of your legs are created by a problem named SCIATICA. The origin of this growing problem is not only that more and more people are taking bigger weights on their shoulders or reading more books, but mainly that each year many more people work with a personal computer and spend too many hours with their head leaned towards the keyboard while writing or introducing code. Also professional drivers suffer from sciatica. Long working hours driving without leaning their head back on the headrest make many of them suffer from this problem.
Technically speaking, sciatica is the common name given to the health problems resulting from the sciatic nerve’s inflammation. A clear description and the origin of this problem may be seen in the MedlinePlus web page:
As anyone who suffers from sciatica knows, this trouble may become incapacitating. May make anybody lose his concentration capacity. May oblige people to pay more attention to the sharp pains and cramps travelling their legs than to the work they have to do. A moment comes when, even standing up, man cannot be quiet.
When you suffer from sciatica, you go to the doctor and he first prescribes you anti-inflammatory medicines and then to lie and rest. Medicines take away the sciatic nerve inflammation and lying help to ease pressure between the spinal bones and, therefore, over the sciatic nerves that go out of the spinal column through the holes in between the spinal bones. But, as I will explain afterwards, none of this remedies solve the problem from its origin and, therefore, it is for sure that it will be back sooner or later.
When the problem becomes really serious, the remedy that doctors offer their patients is an operation that frees the sciatic nerve from the pressure it is suffering and that is generating its inflammation. Either with the substitution of the disk with the hernia or with the welding of two or more vertebras -opening holes where necessary for nerves-. Under any circumstance, it is not a minor surgery and it is quite impressive that somebody is going to touch so near the spinal cord.
Now, before arriving to this extreme scenario, and when sciatica was not originated by any degenerative process neither an accident, but just by a head in forced positions hold during too long, I can tell you that the remedy exists. And it is quite simple.
Let us go. When I was Full-Contact -American Karate- teacher several years ago I attended a sport’s medicine course. Besides its utility for my physical activity, the course was of big use to understand the most common origin of sciatica. The specialist explained us that when you lean your head five centimeters to the front, a pressure of 1102.3lb -500 kg.- is made on the front part of the lumbar vertebras.
Fond of information technology as I already was then, I realized that to hold the head leaned to the front is what anybody in front of a keyboard does. And many people do so for a long time every day. I then imagined that the muscles and the structure of the spinal cord should be prepared to resist these enormous pressures because, if it were not that way, everybody would be crippled. And that is true if you are young and/or keep your muscles in good shape. As I was then. And that was all by then.
A few years afterwards, when I began to notice in my body the first sciatica cramps, I began to think and, using what I have learned before, I got the reason and origin of my problem and a feasible solution.
I thought what would happen if muscles surrounding the spinal column were not in perfect shape or the discs in between the vertebras were not so resistant due to age. It is obvious that, while the backbone has enough capacity to resist such pressure in a punctual or during a certain time lapse, a continuous pressure of about 1102 pounds in the front part of the lumbar vertebras must do force the crushing and/or the displacement of the most affected inter-vertebra discs to the rear part of the column.
When moving backwards, the inter-vertebra discs press both the medulla and the nerves that go out to the legs through the holes the vertebras have. Nerves become inflamed. Cramps and discomfort begins. Depending on the displacement degree, discomfort may be temporary or permanent.
What is for sure is that if pressure continues and the inter-vertebra discs’ displacement is not corrected in due time, pressure on such discs may make any of them to broke and to spill its content generating what is known as hernia-see image above-.
To avoid this extreme already suffered by a friend and somebody else that I know, the solution comes from using the same mechanism that gives origin to sciatica but in an inverse way. It is a refined and already quite tested technique. Without counter-indications and without spending anything in medical treatments.
If the discs’ displacement is due to the pressure suffered in the front part of the lumbar zone when our head is leaned forward, solution comes out of leaning our head backwards so as the same pressure is put in the rear part of our backbone and the disc is obliged to go back to its original position.
This technique cannot be used without thinking. It is of no use to lean our head backwards if we do not first put straight our back. There is many people that, for whatever reason, have the back upper side somehow bent. That is, they have a stoop. If someone lean his head backwards but his gravity center does not fall behind his backbone, it may be possible that he momentarily reduces pressure over the affected lumbar zone, but he will not be able to oblige his inter-vertebra discs to move forward in a steady process.
Therefore, we must first stand up and stay quite straight, stretching the backbone and taking the shoulders back. Then we must put our hands back our bottom, holding one wrist with the other hand. Quite upright and with our hands back, we may now lean our head backwards. Slowly but as much as we want and/or we can while keeping our balance. The issue is to reverse the pressure that caused the problem enough time as to force the inter-vertebra disk to move back to its original position.
At the same time we may put some stress on our back muscles to bend it backwards a bit, although what it is really important here is to keep enough time the pressure on the back side of the lumbar vertebras for the disc be forced to go back to its original place. Sciatica is the result of a degenerative process that has taken a long time -many months, even years- to cause the problem. Solution, although much more faster, isn’t going to be instantaneous. We may go on doing this exercise as many times as we want, although what it is of main importance is to hold the head leaned backwards as long as we can.
In case of an sciatica crisis we may do three things. One of them is to accompany the backward leaning of your head with stress on the back muscles to bend it backwards and adding the exercise of pulling up your bottom using the hands, already there, that should catch your bottom from the back and not from the sides. It works!!!
If sciatica is quite cramping and we cannot get rid of it with the first technique, you can, once you have your head leaning backwards and you are pulling up your bottom with your hands, turn your body over its vertical axe to the leg that is suffering the cramps. That is, as if your chest should look to the other leg.
The third one is only for people with enough elasticity and strength in both arms and legs. I am talking of doing what in gymnastics is called a handstand with a bridge. Lying on your back over any stable surface, you put your hands and feet on that surface and stress your back muscles to upraise your body making a kind of arch or bridge with it. The inter-vertebral discs move frontwards because of the muscle tension and sciatica disappears. I don’t do it because I cannot but I know about people that use this technic to get rid of their sciatica crisis. In a very efficient way.
Once said so, you sufferer must understand that to get rid of sciatica takes a while. And in such a meanwhile you must get accustomed of doing this technique of body weights re-equilibrium as a habit. More frequently and during more time at the beginning. Afterwards, only for a while, and before going to bed, will be enough.
If what you want is that sciatica does not appear again in your life, you have to change some daily habits that harm you. First, you have to lay your head in the seat’s headrest of your car when driving. The bother that you will notice at the beginning for resting your head that way will soon disappear. I have already got accustomed. And my lumbar vertebras thank me every day.
On the other hand you have to change the shape of the pillow you use when lying on your bed. You have to improve your backbone position while you are asleep. You have to take a pillow enough high and with the necessary consistence as to keep your head in line with your backbone when sleeping on your side. Once you have selected your dreaming’s mate -we will spend a third of the rest of our life with it- you have to divide it in three parts.
Once divided in such a way, we open the front or rear sewing and, with big and sharp scissors, and without taking away the fill, we make two cuts that will allow us extract the central part leaving the other two at both sides of the pillow. This is the heaviest part of the task due to the difficulty of cutting inside the cover.
Once we have taken out the central part of the pillow filling we go on sewing back the front of the cover the same as making two tranversal needleworks that will keep both sides of the filling stuff on each side of the pillow. Now we already have a magical pillow that will allow us to rest our head in the right way be anyone the position we adopt during our dreams.
Since I sleep with a pillow as described, I have noticed that my backbone awakes quite more rested, my neck enjoys it and my sleeping is much deeper. Now, when I sleep on my back, my head rests directly on the mattress. Feel wonderful. If you snore, there are other easy remedies. You may also sleep by your side.
Last but not least, I have made another discovery to get rid of the minor sciatica disturbances that you may feel when going to sleep. After looking for quite a while I found a way to lay down and put my legs to help in getting rid of such sciatica disturbances. It is not only the best one but the most comfortable. You have, while resting on your back, to stretch out your legs and turn each foot to its own side. Both feet must be turned at the same time. The way Charlot walks in his films. You may seem somewhat odd at the beginning, but quite quickly your body gets accustomed and it is really a useful way to alleviate this problem while you are in your bed.
Author: Rafael Hernández Núñez