You feel like an old man or old woman, way before your time. The sharp pain running down your leg makes it hard to walk, sit in a chair or move. It feels scary because you don’t know if the pain will ever go away. Most people think that when your back goes out that it’s due to a recent incident. You bent over to tie your shoes or lift up a package and that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The truth is, the cause of most lower back pain begins years before the onset of the pain. It’s due to the spine being unstable. The foundation for the spine is the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is a weight bearing joint. It bears the weight of everything above it. When the sacroiliac joint is unstable, your spine becomes unstable, your nervous system becomes unstable and your emotions become unstable. Over time, the 4th lumbar disc may start to bulge due to the instability. Because of the instability any heavy lifting, bending or twisting can potentially throw your back out and cause the debitating pain of sciatica.
Sciatica is a mild to intense pain running down the buttock or leg. It’s caused by pressure on the nerves in the lower back. Sciatica can be caused by a bulging disc, a tight piriformis (buttock) muscle, a narrowing of the opening through which the nerve exits, trauma such as car accidents or sports injuries, spondylolisthesis the forward slippage of a lumbar (lower back) vertebra and occasionally due to spinal tumors.

Common symptoms of sciatica include:
• Pain in the buttocks or leg that’s worse when sitting
• Burning or tingling down the leg
• Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
• A constant pain on one side of the buttocks
• A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

Sciatica usually affects only one side of the lower back and leg. Often, the pain extends from the lower back all the way down the back of the thigh and down the back of the leg. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, the pain may also extend to the foot or toes.
So, what’s the actual cause of the spine being unstable? The first major cause is lifestyle: wearing high heeled shoes, crossing one leg over the other, flat feet, obesity, lack of exercise and stress. Wearing high heeled shoes causes the navicular bone, on the inside of the foot to go out of alignment. This then causes the knee, the lower back and upper neck to go out. Crossing the left knee over the right causes the the left femur head (the long bone of the upper leg) to externally rotate. The spine sits on the pelvis and the pelvis sits on the legs. When the legs are unstable, the spine becomes unstable. This can occur when sitting in a chair, sitting in a cross legged yoga posture or when putting your shoes on.
Another way of describing flat feet is a lack of curve (arch) in the foot. This in turn causes a lack of curve in the lower back and neck. When the neck and lower back lack a normal curve, the vertebrae can degenerate around three times faster than normal. This leads to increased neck and lower back pain and a decrease in energy. Flat feet can often be corrected by doing FAST or Fascial Alignment Strectch Technique on the arch of the foot. This stretches the fascia which gives the arch of the foot it’s shape. If that isn’t sufficient, then you can be fitted for flexible arch supports.
Being overweight and lack of exercise go hand in hand. If you’re suffering from lower back pain you might not feel like exercising. Excess weight can cause an increase in pressure and pain in the lower back. If your lower back is unstable it makes it even worse. Fortunately I work with a highly effective eight week weight loss program that helps you get healthy and lose weight at the same time. We determine through blood and saliva tests which endocrine gland is failing causing the weight gain and cleanse the liver to help you produce the 6 fat burning hormones. To find out more about my program go to
Emotional stress causes energy imbalances which cause the lower back to become unstable. There are three common energy imbalances in the lower back. The 1st is a second chakra imbalance in the back of the body. The 2nd one is emotional armoring at the 3rd lumbar. This is a muscle spasm due to unexpressed emotions. The 3rd is a polarity energy imbalance of the water element in the pelvis. I check for all three of these imbalances on the first visit. I also check for misalignment of the feet, knees and muscle weaknesses which cause the spine to be unstable. It usually takes only 2-3 visits to correct all of these and then your lower back will be strong and stable.
You might ask "When should I opt for drugs or surgery and when should I try chiropractic?"  When it comes to health problems there are always two options drugs and surgery (the allopathic medical model) or chiropractic, massage or nutrition-the holistic natural model. Common sense would tell you to try the least invasive, safest procedure first and the riskiest, more possible side effects option second. 
If you are suffering from lower back pain and/or sciatica:please call me for a free consultation at 510-558-0164 or e-mail me at I would love a chance to relieve your symptoms and help you to achieve a happier, healthier life style. Thank you.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Raphael Rettner is a Palmer College of Chiropractic West graduate and has been in practice since 1982. Dr. Rettner is one of the most highly skilled and respected chiropractors in the United States. He has made numerous radio and T.V. appearances, is the author of Vegetarian Cooking for People with Allergies and has produced several DVDs including: End P.M.S Now!, The Ultimate Diet, and Twelve Causes of an Unstable Spine. He has studied both force and non-force techniques such as Advanced Biostructural Correction, Applied Kinesiology, Biophysics, Gonstead, S.O.T. and over a dozen others. With a combination of creative thinking and an insatiable quest for knowledge, Dr. Rettner has developed several new and exciting chiropractic techniques. Since 1994 he has taught these in his Applied Trigger Points seminar to chiropractors all across the United States, Australia, Canada and England.
You can reach Raphael at