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Should you suffer from the low back and leg symptoms of sciatica, the pope feels your pain. Reports reveal that Pope Francis has spent part of his 2017 summer undergoing spinal shots and massage therapy to help manage his sciatica.
Sciatica is intense low back and leg pain which runs along the course of the sciatic nerve, that is the longest and largest nerve in the human system. The sciatic nerve extends from your low back all the way down to a foot. Several spinal ailments can irritate the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica, including a herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and trauma (you can read more in common sciatica causes). The root reason for Pope Francis’ sciatica is unclear.
The 80-year-old pope has suffered from sciatica for many years, having first remarked on his struggle with it in a 2013 through a media conference when he said, “Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don’t wish it on anyone!”
More recently, the pope has received epidural steroid shots and massages twice a week to handle his back pain pain, according to the Italian news magazine Famiglia Cristiana.
Pope Francis’ routine of epidural steroid injections and massages underscores the fact that while the pain of sciatica can be extreme–almost indescribable–spine operation isn’t always the answer. The pope’s non-surgical approach to sciatica pain management is one that many individuals suffering from the illness adopt.
With epidural steroid shots, strong anti-inflammatory drugs known as corticosteroids are injected near the spinal nerve roots. The therapy works with varying success, but some people experience decreased pain for months following an injection.
With massage, a therapist can target the muscle tension that may be compressing the sciatic nerve or associated nerve roots. Deep tissue massage treatment may be type of massage used, since it utilizes direct pressure and friction to release the pressure in the soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles) surrounding the sciatic nerve.
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