I came across a research article that caught my eye! It caught my eye for several reasons; number one the visual of a rat on a treadmill is inherently funny. But more importantly it’s more proof of what we already know. That functional disk rehydration works. We know it works because every day we get patient with severe sciatica better. More on that in a minute…….
The researchers identified that rats with sciatica who exercised showed a greater improvement in symptom behavior, compared to a group of rats that had sciatica and no exercise. What they found was the rats that exercised have less inflammation in the sciatic nerve compared to the group that never exercised. So the theory goes that rats that exercise have less sciatica hooray for rats!! If your rat has sciatica you just need to train him to exercise daily on a treadmill.
If we make the leap to humans it stands true that if we exercise on a treadmill our sciatica gets better. There is some truth here but also some flaws!
The flaws I see in the study are as follows. When rats walk they walk on all fours, and when walking on all fours gravity is not projected through the spine the same way humans have gravity on the spine and discs. The discs of rats will not be what we call weight bearing; this is exactly opposite to humans. Our discs are 100 percent weight bearing, this is the primary reason we struggle so much with back pain and sciatica. The second flaw in the study is the rats that were in the study, had sciatica as a result of injuries induced deliberately by the scientist.
If you read my blog "The 5 Most Common Causes For Sciatica, Part 2" you will see that humans mostly suffer from sciatica as a result of disc problems. (Herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerated discs and stenosis) This is important because very often exercises on a treadmill will make your sciatica worse; this is because in the upright position doing exercises will aggravate a disc problem. But here what why I got excited about the study and what it means for me and you and anybody else that may have sciatica.
I recently wrote a blog called "The 4 Most Important Things to Know About Spinal Rehabilitation." My staff said I confused them. But the moral of the story is when you have a disc problem and do exercises very often you will get worse. And with the study I think the principles are true but for humans in an upright position the result is more pain but this is where the magic of Functional Disc Rehydration comes in.
The truth of the study is exercise will help heal sciatica. The problem we need to address is how to perform the exercises in an upright position without aggravating the disc.
This is where the magic of Functional Disc Rehydration shines; it’s how we do exercises on our treadmill. You wear a harness (like a vest) around your abdomen. This harness is connected to a device that lifts you up ever so slightly it doesn’t hurt (it actually feels very good). The goal is to take the pressure off your disc, almost like an anti-gravity environment. This prevents you from aggravating your disc! Ultimately this allows for the disc to heal, it’s the combination of taking pressure off the disc and doing exercises that allows for the disc to heal. Subsequently this also allows the ability for you to perform the exercises that create a decrease in inflammation in you sciatic nerve.
I appreciate the study on Rats but they could have called me years ago and I would have told them that exercise are the best thing for sciatica the trick is how you do the exercises.