Sciatic Nerve Pain and Chiropractic Treatment
When you hear someone say they have Sciatica, the first thing that may come to your mind is leg pain. However, the pain that radiates from the lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg is actually just a symptom of another condition.
Many of us will actually suffer the pain of Sciatica at some time in our lives and the frequently associated lower back pain is one of the conditions most often treated by chiropractors.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body, which runs from each side of the lumbar spinal cord through deep in the buttock area and back of the thigh then all the way down to the foot, connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles.
Generally, sciatica is a result of a lumbar disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve but any irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can also produce the symptoms of sciatica. Symptoms vary from person to person and depending on the cause may include:
- Pain like that similar to a cramp to sharp and shooting pains that can be excruciating;
- Pain that worsens on sitting, sneezing or coughing;
- Pain appears quite suddenly or gradually worsens;
- Pain accompanied by numbness, tingling and weakness in the affected leg;
- Pins and needles, burning sensations and weakness in the affected area;
- Inability to bend the knee or move the foot or toes.
What are the Causes of Sciatica?
Sciatica is often caused by a compressed nerve (or nerves), which is either within the spine itself or as it passes out of the spine and into the leg. The most common causes of the symptoms are:
- A slipped disc – a disc that has become herniated and bulges out causing pressure on a nerve or nerves.
- Subluxations – a vertebra (or vertebrae) in the spine is not functioning properly where the dysfunction can stretch or traction the nerve as it passes out of the spinal canal irritating it.
- Piriformis Syndrome – a condition resulting from pressure and consequent irritation of the sciatic nerve, which is caused by muscle spasms or tightening of a muscle in the buttocks called the Piriformis muscle. While this is less common, it usually begins with the pain, pins and needles or numbness in the buttocks.
- Spinal Stenosis – although this is a more unusual condition, this illness can cause the spinal canal to become narrower, which puts pressure on the nerves contained within it, thereby causing pain.
Chiropractic Care for Sciatica
Sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle and chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment options work on correcting misaligned or out of place vertebrae and can remove the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve, thus reducing pain and improving flexibility and function.
Chiropractors make sure that they get to the root of the problem – what is irritating the sciatic nerve – and not just deal with the symptoms.
Chiropractic care can bring faster, longer lasting relief from the painful symptoms of Sciatica. Treatment is based on the fundamental principle that pain and impaired function will result if there is restriction within the spinal column, where it aims to provide safe, non-invasive, drug-free intervention to restore balance and to help the body to heal itself.
Get in touch
If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms mentioned above, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider and find out if the chiropractic approach is the right choice for you, or call us on (02) 9868 2509.