Pain that radiates through the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. It is pain that can impact the lower back, hips, buttocks and the legs.
Most patients experience sciatica in only one side of their body. And the cause is typically related to a herniated disk or bone spur that compresses the nerve in the spine. It is why patients with sciatica experience a great deal of inflammation and pain. They may also have to deal with numbness in one of their legs.
Sciatica is not a condition or a disease. It is the symptom of the issue with the herniated disc or bone spur. The pain may start out as though it is a bad leg cramp, but it does get worse. Some patients cannot even stand or sit, as they are in so much pain.
This is why a chiropractor is best suited to treat sciatica.
What are the causes of Sciatica?
Sciatica is the rest of a nerve being compressed or pinched in the lower part of the spine. And this pinched nerve can occur because of the following issues:
- Herniated or slipped disk, which pushes down on the nerve foot.
- Bone spur.
- Piriformis syndrome, which is a condition where the piriformis muscle is spasming. The resulting spasm puts pressure on the nerve, resulting in sciatica.
- Spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the nerves.
- Spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage of a vertebra that puts it out of line with the other one. It causes the area where the nerve exists to narrow, putting pressure on the nerve.
When to pay a visit to a Chiropractor?
Patients who are suffering the pain described above are encouraged to see a chiropractor. If the pain is sudden and severe, and does not go away after a couple days, chiropractic treatment can relieve the pain and other symptoms. The same is true if the pain begins after an impact injury or accident.
What are risk factors that can attribute to the onset of Sciatica?
As sciatica is caused by a number of different issues, there are several risk factors. These include age, weight, occupation, excessive sitting and diabetes. Individuals who are older, heavier, working jobs where their back is stressed, spend a lot of time sitting or have diabetes are at a higher risk of experiencing sciatica.
What are some home treatments for Sciatica?
Ice therapy is an excellent way to treat sciatica short term, or while you are awaiting your first chiropractic visit. The goal is to periodically use an ice compress on the area where pain and/or inflammation is worst. It will reduce the inflammation and bring the pain down. Over the counter, NSAIDs can also provide temporary relief while awaiting your first appointment.
How can a chiropractor help?
Chiropractors have the experience and skills to properly diagnose why sciatica is occurring. They will review a patient’s medical history and examine the patient in the first session. And the administered treatment is about resolving the underlying issue, not numbing the pain with medication.
Using ultrasound and spinal adjustments
Using sound waves to generate gentle heat, chiropractors can penetrate deep into the tissues and attempt to resolve the issue that causes the muscle spasms and/or swelling that led to sciatica.
Spinal adjustments are another treatment option. Manipulating the spine will help improve movement in the area while placing misaligned vertebrae into their proper positions in the spine. The specific technique used by a chiropractor will depend on the nature of pain experienced by the patient and the initial diagnosis.
Anyone who is experiencing pain that could indicate sciatica should see a chiropractor for treatment. It can provide real and permanent relief without resorting to medication.