Millions of people experience sciatic nerve pain, so if you are suffering you are not alone. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve fiber that begins in the lower back and runs through the buttock and down the lower limb. It is the longest and widest single nerve in the human body. Sciatica is one of the most common forms of pain caused by compression of the spinal nerves in the lower back, and the leg pain is usually much worse than the back pain.
Sciatica is not a disorder, it’s a symptom. Anything that places pressure on a lumbar nerve root can cause pain in parts or all of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can include lower back pain, other pain, numbness or weakness in parts of the foot or leg, buttock pain, pins and needles or tingling and general difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Usually, the symptoms are felt on only one side of the body.
Often the cause of the symptoms are related to a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine that compresses part of the nerve. Other causes may include, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis. Sometimes pain may occur when a muscle located deep in the buttocks pinches the sciatic nerve. This muscle is called the piriformis. This will cause inflammation causing a number of the previously mentioned symptoms. Pain associated with sciatica can be severe, however, most cases will resolve with conservative treatments, including chiropractic care, in just a few weeks.
Pain may start off slowly, however may get worse at night, after standing or sitting for longer periods of time, or when you sneeze, cough or laugh.
Patients who are suffering with sciatica need to be assessed and a treatment plan should be individualized based on their symptoms. The diagnosis and the response to the various treatments available will determine the treatment plan options. Some times it is through trial and error to figure out the root cause and treat the problem not just the symptoms. Because there are many reasons why people suffer from sciatica it may be a combination of treatment options that work best, such as physical therapy and chiropractic treatments combined to help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. You may also need to alternate heat therapy with ice massage therapy, your chiropractor can assess your symptoms and give their recommended treatment plan for you.
Why Chiropractic Care?
Sciatica is often the results of a misaligned lower spine that can compress a nerve causing it to become irritated or inflamed. This misalignment is called a subluxation and can cause severe pain.
Often people will wait till the pain becomes unbearable prior to contacting a chiropractor. Waiting can actually cause long-term damage. It is important that when the pain starts you visit your chiropractor for an assessment. Through a hands on assessment (and sometimes with x-rays), the chiropractor may find the source of the nerve blockage and can use manual adjustments to correct the spinal misalignment. Massage Therapy may also be an option to reduce muscle spasms. Pain medications only mask the symptoms, they do not fix the cause of your pain. Chiropractor care works at correcting subluxations. Contact your chiropractor today and discuss any symptoms you may be having.