The sciatic nerve gives sensation to the lower leg and parts of the foot, and is the largest nerve in the body, running from the lower spinal cord down through the legs. It’s no wonder problems with this nerve are so painful.
When this large nerve is irritated, the resulting pain is called sciatica. Most people who suffer sciatica feel a strong, burning pain that starts in the lumbar region of the lower back and extends down the leg. Some patients describe sciatica as a numbness or tingling, and it can also feel more like “hip” pain than back or leg pain. No two cases of sciatica are exactly alike, but they all stem from the same problem: An irritation or aggravation of the sciatic nerve.
The causes of sciatica
There are actually a number of different problems that can irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to sciatica. The most common cause is a herniated disc in the lumbar area. When a disc in this lower region of the back becomes herniated, it will often press directly on the sciatic nerve, thus causing irritation and debilitating pain.
It’s also possible for the sciatic nerve to become irritated as a result of displaced bone, tumor, strained muscle, or other internal causes. Women in the latter stages of pregnancy are also prone to develop sciatic as the lumbar spine strains to support the extra weight.
Patience are usually diagnosed with sciatica after a number of tests, which might include X-rays, MRI, CT scan and visual/manual examinations.
Treatments for sciatica
It’s important to understand sciatica and the various factors that can increase your risk—but most people who suffer from this condition don’t want a lot of information and statistics. They just want relief.
There are several treatment options available, but those that promise the most immediate relief (disc surgery and/or pain medication) are often the least desirable from an overall health perspective. Injections and anti-inflammatory medications may also be used to alleviate the problem, but these are more likely to result in additional complications for the patient.
Chiropractic treatment has high rates of success in treating sciatica. Expert manipulations of the lumbar spine will often restore proper alignment and spinal function, which relieves unwanted pressure on the sciatic nerve and clears the way for a natural resolution of symptoms. Some people find it difficult to believe that a painful condition like sciatica could be resolved naturally and without side effects, but there
What will a chiropractic treatment for sciatica actually be like?
People often wonder what the treatment process will actually be, and how they will feel during treatments. Will it be painful? Will the results be immediate? In most cases, the adjustments themselves are not painful and some degree of relief is immediate, with further resolution of symptoms occurring with subsequent adjustments and visits.
A skilled chiropractor will always begin with the detailed assessment of your overall health and current symptoms. The doctor will then assess your spine and proceed to lay out a treatment plan. The goal is to resolve the underlying causes of your symptoms, rather than simply masking the symptoms or providing temporary relief. Overall wellness guidance, including ergonomic and nutritional advice, may also fit into your treatment plan.
During an actual chiropractic treatment for sciatica, a number of tools may be used to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Hot and cold therapy, ultrasound, electronic nerve stimulators, and spinal adjustments may all be used to naturally correct the spinal imbalances that are pinching or pressing against your sciatic nerve. How fast will you begin to feel relief? This depends on your unique physiology and the severity of your sciatica—but in many cases patients leave the office feeling significantly better after their first visit.