Back Pain & Sciatica: The Burning Questions

Bending over to reach into the bottom of the washing machine: pain in the back and shooting pain down the leg. Reaching up for glass on the highest shelf: pain in the back and shooting pain down the leg. Crossing your legs to put on socks in the morning: pain in the back and shooting pain down the leg. Many have found themselves in these and other painful situations, but many still don’t quite know why, or how to get relief.

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Low back pain and sciatica, the occasional resulting numbness/pain/burning down the leg, affect a large portion of the population. Low back pain affects up to 70% of the US population at some point in their lifetime. And up to 40% of the population will experience sciatica before it’s all said and done. With numbers this high it’s no wonder that this problem has been a real pain in the butt.

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 If The Rock is fine with that joke, you can be too.

There are a few common questions that tend to pop up when back pain & sciatica become an issue:

“What is causing this pain in my back and down my leg?”

These symptoms usually come from one of 3 things: a herniated discspinal stenosis, or a problem with the SI joint.

“How do I know which one of those is the cause of my issues?”

We can often determine what the cause is without an X-ray or MRI, based on some key factors and test results. Things like your age, what changes your symptoms, and the results of some functional testing can determine what is causing your particular issue.

“Is there a way that I can fix this?”

Yes! Exercise!


Yes. Exercise. That is to say, the right exercises.

“How will I know the right ones?”

First you need to know which category you fit into. Then from there that is used as a guide for selecting the best exercises. In general, you want to avoid exercises that bring on the pain down the leg that you have been experiencing. This is usually an indication that you’re making things worse.

“Are you going to get into those in this post?”

No, no. I’ll get to that when I break down each category in more detail in the coming days. I’m already slightly over my suggested word count and I still have two more questions to cover. I’m trying to keep these relatively short.

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 What is this, my last post?

“Ok… Well is this something that will be completely healed or will it come back again?”

That depends largely on if the exercises work to give relief in the first place (they typically do, but nothing is guaranteed) and on how committed someone is to sticking with the program when it does work. Being consistent in the early stages and learning how to avoid making the pain come back long term are the keys to lasting relief.

“So then what is the first thing I should do?”

Seek help! Doing nothing and hoping the pain goes away is the last thing you want to do. Exercise is better than bed rest after the inflammation from a flare up dies down. Making a change towards getting relief is the first step towards shedding the pain and getting back to living life the way you


Check back for Part 2 which will be covering the first cause highlighted in this post: Herniated Discs. We will cover the basic anatomy of the injury and how to know if you fit in this category.

And don’t miss our upcoming FREE Back Pain & Sciatica Workshop if you know of anybody that can benefit from finding relief from this common disorder!

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