If you’ve been living in pain for years, or this sciatica pain is new to you… The first question that comes to mind is “how can I fix this?”
This question will start a journey of self discovery, learning, and sometimes frustration. However, you can save yourself time by meeting with a professional who can use their years of experience to helping you figure out a solution. But what if you don’t even have the time to meet with a professional? How can we find the solutions that can be both effective and time efficient?
We can solve these questions by asking more questions. Hear me out. It is important for clinicians to ask questions because they are gathering data (aka information) from you to determine the cause of pain and then a proper treatment route. This allows them to streamline the healing process by eliminating noise and finding a direction. They are trying to answer three main questions, that I encourage you to ask yourself.
- What positions, motions, exercises, stretches bring you the most relief? This question will actually drive a lot of the exercise and stretch selection for you. Here’s an example- if you feel best when standing, but worse in sitting, then you might actually benefit from “extension” based exercises (also known as backward bending). If that is the scenario, then stuff like the cobra stretch, the Mckenzie prone pressure, or even the standing back bend can be beneficial for you. You should be focusing on things that make you feel better rather than make you feel worse.
- What positions, motions, exercises, stretches make your pain worse? This will help use understand if we need to avoid or modify certain positions. From the example above, if sitting is painful, then perhaps forward bending or “flexion” can be the culprit. We would need to learn how to hinge/move at the hips to minimize forward bending at the back. This would also mean that we would need to modify sitting postures to provide a break from forward bending.
- Do you feel more pain at rest or with movement? This question will help determine if we are dealing with a movement capacity (not enough movement) or a stability issue (too much movement). If you are having pain at rest, we are looking at improving movement and maximizing pain free movement and we may not need to focus much of our time on core strengthening. Why would we need to strengthen our core if we experience pain staying still? If you are having more pain during movement, then we are dealing with a stability issue. That means that there is too much motion at the spine, which can then send signals of irritation down the sciatic nerve. In this case, core strengthening exercises is indicated to minimize extraneous movement.
I encourage you to not be frustrated if your clinician asks you a ton of questions. In fact, welcome it. And I challenge you to ask more questions in the clinic if you feel like you aren’t being heard. This also includes telling the clinician or professional whether or not the treatment is being effective.
The more questions you ask, the more clarity you will receive.
If you need help with your recovery, you can be asked questions directly via text message through our awesome Sciatica Protocol. You can check it out here.
Or if you would like to work directly with us, book a free strategy call here.