Condition of the Month
What is Sciatica?
Some people deal with sciatica pain every day, and they may not have to.
Sciatica is an inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts in your lower back and runs through your hips, buttocks and down each leg where it then branches into smaller nerves that go to your calves and feet. When the nerve is irritated, it cannot function properly resulting in pain and discomfort.
Chiropractic care has proven to be a very effective treatment for sciatica. Not only is it all natural, but it reduces the risks of surgery and other more invasive procedures. The goal of chiropractic is to determine the cause of the irritation or pressure on the nerve… then to correct it.
What are the Causes of Sciatica?
There are several common causes for sciatica:
• Herniated/bulging disc in the lower back
• Traumatic events such as a sports injury or car accident can cause pressure to be placed on the sciatic nerve, disrupting the normal function of the affected nerve/s.
• Piriformis Syndrome – the Piriformis muscle lies directly over your sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or spasms, pressure is placed on the sciatic nerve.
• An often overlooked cause of sciatica in men is sitting on their wallet. Over time, the pressure from sitting on a bulky wallet will irritate the Piriformis and/or sciatic nerve.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The most common symptoms people experience are a shooting, often very sharp pain down the back of their leg. Low back pain is often, but not always associated with sciatica. Sciatica can often feel like numbness, tingling or muscle weakness of the affected leg, and many times the pain will “change” or “move” from day to day. One day it may be in your thigh, and the next in your calf. The pain associated with sciatica often gets worse gradually, and may be sharper or more intense when doing activities like sitting, coughing or sneezing.
Treatment of Sciatica
In many cases, chiropractic care is the best option for sciatica sufferers. Through chiropractic care, patients are able to address the cause of sciatica naturally. Chiropractic corrects the cause of the sciatica, so that the body can feel better naturally. If you are only taking pain medication, this can just mask the problem, allowing the underlying cause to worsen.
The majority of sciatica patients will not need surgery to correct their problem if they see a chiropractor to treat their condition, especially if it is caught early.
Chiropractic addresses all of the common causes of sciatica. Through spinal manipulation and mobilization, physiotherapy, exercise and massage therapy, all causes of the sciatica can be successfully treated.
There are many things you can do every day to keep your body in top shape so it can take better care of itself:
• Exercise often.
• Stretch every day to help keep your spine mobile.
• Practice proper lifting when picking up heavy objects and when carrying them.
• Always sit up straight and have good posture when driving, standing and sleeping.
• See your chiropractor on a regular basis so you can keep your spine healthy and prevent problems before they start.