Sciatica is a condition that affects many people today. It typically manifests as pain in the lower back or buttocks that radiates down to the legs or feet. This pain can be felt in one or both legs and is often difficult to describe. Patients have also found that the pain can change in frequency or intensity ranging from mild to severe and can be debilitating at times. Patients have reported various sensations related to sciatica pain including pins and needles while at other times it may be described as dull, or even like electric shocks.
The discomfort that sciatica patients experience often causes them to be willing to try anything to alleviate the condition. Understanding a few things about sciatica may help you decide what is best for you.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is understood as a compression of the sciatic nerve. This compression can occur as the sciatic nerve leaves the spinal column and travels down to the legs and there are many possible causes of sciatica that vary in their severity.
Subluxations – subluxations occur when the vertebrae in the spine are misaligned. These misalignments can cause restrictions or pressure on different nerves. Subluxations on the sciatic nerve are a common occurrence for many patients.
Herniated or bulging discs – The padding or discs between the vertebrae can be damaged or deformed which can create issues with the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica.
Pregnancy – The drastic changes that occur to a woman’s body during pregnancy can create issues along the pelvis and spinal column. Some of these issues may cause a problem with the sciatic nerve.
Tumors – A potentially severe issue occurs when a tumor grows in or along the spinal column. One of the first signs of tumor growth in your spine may be a change in sensation that is caused by the tumor placing pressure against your nerves. Your chiropractor can help diagnose the cause of your discomfort and ensure that you get the appropriate treatment.
Piriformis syndrome – The sciatic nerve travels underneath the piriformis muscle which can be damaged in slips or falls. If the muscle experiences a strain or tightness, it may affect the ability of the sciatic nerve to function. Cramping or twitching of this muscle can also trigger pain associated with sciatica.
As you have just read, sciatica can be caused by a wide range of issues. Several concerns may extend beyond your discomfort when considering an appropriate diagnosis. Any time that your nerves are affected, there is a range of potential causes that should be thoroughly investigated in order to receive a proper diagnosis.
If your issue isn't properly diagnosed, the subsequent treatment may be ineffective. This could lead to continued pain and frustration on your part. Be sure to work with a licensed chiropractor to receive the best care possible.
Using Chiropractic Care to Treat Sciatica
If you have worked through a diagnosis with your chiropractor and decided that chiropractic care is the best option for you, then you can begin your treatment plan immediately. You should make sure to ask any questions you may have about your plan and then adjust as needed. Your chiropractor will likely use several different options in the treatment of your sciatica.
Ice or Cold Therapy – These methods use temperature cooling to reduce any inflammation that may be contributing to your sciatica.
Ultrasound – Ultrasound produces radio waves that result in a gentle massaging sensation. This helps to stimulate the muscles and nerves in order to reduce your sciatica pain.
Electrotherapy – This therapy uses gentle electric pulses to stimulate and heal the muscles around the joints.
Spinal Manipulation – Your chiropractor may also help to align the vertebrae in your spine to relieve pinching or pressure on the sciatic nerve. You may experience some cracking in the spine as the chiropractor releases gases from the spinal column and reduces overall pressure.
If you are experiencing sciatica pain, your first step should be to meet with a licensed chiropractor to receive the proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. You should leave with a better understanding of what type of results you should expect and how long your treatment will last. Chiropractic care for your sciatica offers some of the safest and simplest treatments possible to produce the most significant positive outcomes for you and your health.