Sciatica Chiropractor for Sciatica Pain Relief
Sciatica and leg pain can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Typically, the symptoms include numbness, tingling or weakness that extends from the low back down into one or both legs. Standing and sitting for long periods may worsen the pain.
What is Sciatica?
The largest nerve in the human body is the sciatic nerve. It runs from the lower spine, along the back of the thigh, all the way down to the heel.
Between your vertebrae are discs that act like soft cushions to prevent the bones from grinding against each other, and to enable fluid movement in the joints. If the discs become compressed, they can sort of squeeze out from between the vertebrae and press on the sciatic nerve. “You can think of each disc like a jelly donut”, says Dr. Louie. “If you squish or compress the donut, all the jelly will squirt out of it.”
The term “sciatica” refers to pain resulting from inflammation or compression of this nerve, and there are two types: neurogenic sciatica and referred sciatica.
In neurogenic sciatica, the pain is caused by the compression of the nerve, with the severity of the pain being dependent on the amount of pressure on the nerve. This type of sciatica often comes along with abnormal findings from neurological exams, which can include sensory changes, a loss in normal reflexes and muscle weakness.
In referred sciatica, the pain is related to problems in the muscles and joints around the lower spine and pelvic area. Sometimes the pain is worse in the back than the legs, and pain from referred sciatica does not have the shooting quality that pain from neurogenic sciatica does, nor does it come with the abnormalities that neurogenic sciatica can buddy up with.
For Dr. Stephanie Louie, sciatica is one of the most common complaints in her patients. “It can present itself in many different ways,” explains Dr. Louie, “which is why when first-time patients walk into Mind Body Spine, it is important to do a thorough examination to determine the root causes of sciatic pain and the most effective way to treat the problem.”
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica, no matter which type, can be caused by a number of things:
- Repetitive strain
- Tight gluteal muscles
- Poor posture
- Issues with the lower spine
It’s important to note, however, that bone spurs, narrowing spinal discs or problems with the sacroiliac joint can also cause pain that shoots down the leg.
The sciatic nerve can become compressed by a misaligned spine, a herniated disc, or a tight piriformis muscle that irritates the nerve.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica include:
- Radiating or shooting pain in the back and leg
- Muscle weakness
- A tingly pins-and-needles sensation.
How You Can Help Yourself If You Suffer From Sciatica
Sciatica isn’t a condition that is more common in one particular group of people—it can happen to anyone, no matter which gender or ethnicity they are, and no matter their age. If a patient has been diagnosed with sciatica, they can help prevent worse pain by avoiding standing or sitting in one position for too long.
What can a Chiropractor do for Sciatica?
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants or even cortisone epidurals can only mask the symptoms temporarily – and the pain can come back worse if the patient tries to continue with their regular activity when they are healing. A chiropractor can address the problem with chiropractic therapy that can be done in the clinic, and by giving the patient some exercises that can be done at home. At Mind Body Spine, a total-body approach is used. “We have many tools to help with sciatic, including chiropractic adjustments, spinal decompression therapy, and physiotherapy rehabilitation exercises for sciatic pain relief to name a few,” says Dr. Louie.
Most importantly, making every effort to understand the nature of the pain the patient is having is key to creating a treatment plan that will enable full recovery. Contact us today to find out more about how chiropractic can help with sciatic pain.
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