Sciatica, a misdiagnosis

The Most Misdiagnosed Condition in Healthcare

One of the most sinking feelings a chiropractor can experience happens when the patient gets up off the table after half a dozen visits and says, “It’s a little better, Doc, but I’m still in a lot of pain.  When can I expect some significant relief?”

When it comes to limited success with sciatica, it’s usually because more than half of the diagnoses of sciatica are wrong.  When patients place a hand on their hip and tell me they have sciatica, I know beyond any doubt that it’s NOT sciatica.


Because the sciatic nerve doesn’t “live” there.  Individual, smaller nerves form into the sciatic nerve bundle beneath the sacrum.  Then the sciatic nerve comes from the outer, lower third of the sacrum. From there, it goes down the CENTER of the back of the leg.

The sciatic nerve never comes anywhere near the top of the hip … ever.

Why do doctors diagnosis this as sciatica?  It’s a word-association game.  They’re taught that any time they hear, “buttock pain that goes down the back of the thigh,” it’s automatically sciatica.”  But that’s not any more accurate than saying, “when you see a vehicle with four wheels, it’s a Cadillac!”  It’s jumping to conclusions without enough information.

In more than half of the “sciatic” cases I’ve worked with, it wasn’t sciatica at all.  It was Cluneal Nerve Entrapment.

It’s the cluneal nerve that lives at the top of the hip about 1 ½ to 2 inches out to the side of the little dimples at the bottom of your back.  And the part that goes down the back of the thigh isn’t really in the CENTER.  It’s slightly off to the outside and usually only goes halfway down the thigh.

At the hip, the cluneal nerve has to descend through a tunnel called the osseofibrous tunnel.  This is kind of like carpal tunnel syndrome, except in our hip instead of your hand.

The secret to successfully treating Cluneal Nerve Entrapment is, of course, a correct diagnosis.  Then the doctor has to treat the nerve entrapment directly.  With a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, success can be astounding!

If you have long-term or repeating “sciatica” ask your doctor to look into Cluneal Nerve Entrapment.  It could give you your life back.

Watch this video for more information.

Want your doctor to be able to diagnose treat Cluneal Nerve Entrapment?  Send him or her here.

Long-Term, Mid-Back Pain

Long-Term, Mid-Back Pain

Chiropractors are experts at adjusting the spine.  A major portion of the spine is the mid back … any vertebra that has a rib attached.  That includes nearly half of all the vertebrae.

But what about people who experience mid back pain almost constantly, even if they’re going to the chiropractor regularly?

If you’ve ruled out disease processes like bone infections or cancers, and if you’ve ruled out compression fractures and rib misalignments, there’s another avenue to examine that can often make a noticeable difference – a torqued sternum.

With a torqued sternum, the top shifts toward one side of your body and the bottom shifts toward the opposite side.  Because of that shift, the joints where the ribs connect to the sternum in the front can’t move properly.  They get slightly “stuck.”

Ribs are like bucket handles.  They connect to the spine in the back and to the sternum in the front.  If the rib is stuck on either end, the symptoms can be mid back pain or chest pain, shortness of breath or any combination of those.  If you correct joint function at one end of the rib without correcting function at the other end, the symptoms can return again and again.  Because you’ve only addressed half of the problem.

That’s one reason a torqued sternum is often mistaken as heart problems, even when all the heart tests come back in the normal range.  Chest pains from a torqued sternum can closely mimic heart disease symptoms.

Correcting a torqued sternum is a simple procedure, especially when done by a chiropractor with an instrument like an Activator or an Impulse.  It’s simply a matter of taking both the top and bottom of the sternum back toward the center line so that all the rib joints can move freely and correctly again.

If your chiropractor needs more information, have him or her contact me at


Dr. Rick Boatright, D.C.

See Dr. Boatright’s books at