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Myth Buster: Sciatica & Low Back Pain

Myth Buster: Sciatica & Low Back Pain

Pain in the Low Back is not always Low Back Pain.

Low back pain is one of the most common pain sites. As an added bonus a lot of people are getting pain down into their hips, thighs, and sometimes all the way to the foot. Pain travelling down the leg is classically taught as referred pain from the spine. This could be an intervertebral disc or nerve root impingement. As a result, this train of thought plays a large part in chronic low back pain, chronic “sciatica,” and has created a chronic diagnostic problem around low back pain and referred pain in the lower extremities.

What About Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common term that is tossed around with low back pain. If you talk to anyone who has had pain down their leg they will tell you they have Sciatica. Unfortunately, Sciatica is a garbage bag term that means you have pain down your leg and we don’t know why. The diagnosis does not provide any insight into what the problem is or why the problem exist. But because it is a radiating and referring type pain most conclude that is must be a disc or nerve root. But now we know better.

In my years practicing I have seen more referred and radiating pain generated from muscle dysfunction that true spine dysfunction. I have also seen it generated from neural tension brought on by poor joint positioning in the spine and pelvis. I have not actually seen referred pain in the lower body from a nerve root impingement or a herniated disc very many times at all. Check out this video as we talk through some of the misconception about low back pain and referred pain.

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