The sciatic nerve is the biggest and longest nerve in your body – it originates in the spine and travels all the way down the legs. A lot of people aren’t aware of this fact until a doctor gives them a diagnosis of sciatica. This is the term for chronic pain along the sciatic nerve, and the cause is usually one of a few different things. It could be a bone spur near the sciatic nerve, or it could be a compression of the nerve by herniated disk, or by spinal stenosis (this is when the spine is narrowed).
But the real reason why sciatica is such a problem is that the symptoms can range from bothersome to downright debilitating. Pain, numbness, inflammation and tingling are all common experiences when sciatica is present. It’s also a problem because it’s common.
Unfortunately, a lot of people never get treated for sciatica because they don’t know what to look for – but solutions are out there, and there’s no reason to live with pain in the sciatic nerve. Here are 4 signs that you might have sciatica, and what you can do to solve it.
1. The pain is only on one side of your body
Because the sciatic nerve reaches down both legs, a compression or misalignment in the spine will often compress the nerve on one side only, leading to pain and symptoms only on that side. When this describes your symptoms, sciatica will often be the diagnosis.
2. You have chronic lower back pain
Lower back pain is a very common problem today, especially as so many people work in the seated position for hours every day. There are a number of different causes for chronic pain in this area, but sciatica is a definite possibility.
3. You feel a tingling or “shock” down one or both of your legs
This is a really common symptom of sciatic, since the nerve can suddenly be compressed through different movements. Some people feel a sensation down their leg when they lower their chin toward their chest. Others feel the sensation randomly. This is a telltale sign that your sciatic nerve is under pressure.
4. It feels much better when you lie down
Because of the nature of a compressed or injured sciatic nerve, it’s the sitting and standing posture that causes most of the trouble. Patients usually notice that the symptoms are minimal or absent when lying down.
So…what can you do about sciatica?
Sciatica is a painful and frustration condition, and when you’re suffering from it, you want effective answers and solutions. Medications, injections and surgery can be used in extreme cases – but this is a problem that is much better solved naturally, if at all possible. That’s why chiropractic care is such a promising option for sufferers of sciatica. By using gentle movements and expert spinal adjustments, a qualified chiropractor can often restore the spine to its naturally alignment, thereby releasing pressure on the sciatic nerve and alleviating the problem. From there, effective prevention methods include regular exercise and stretching, better posture, and even a more wholesome diet.
Talk to a qualified chiropractor for more information on sciatica, and how chiropractic care can help.