Chiropractors regularly treat sciatica, a condition that is characterized by pain originating in the low back or rear and travels into one or both legs. Although the pain varies in intensity and frequency, sciatica is always an irritating condition to deal with because it can prevent you from accomplishing simple tasks—like standing up, for example.
Moderate pain is annoying and severe pain is downright agonizing. So how can chiropractors help patients who are struggling with this condition? Let’s take a closer look.
Sciatica Pain: What is it like?
Sciatica nerve pain can be minimal, moderate, and severe. It can also be occasional, intermittent, frequent, or constant. The pain is described as dull, achy, sharp, and similar to a toothache. Some patients describe it as pins and needles. Others say it is similar to electric shocks.
Other symptoms associated with sciatica include burning, numbness, and tingling sensations. These sensations are actually common for nerve-related pains.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by sciatic nerve compression. Lumbar spine subluxations, for example, are known to cause sciatic nerve pain.
Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root (or roots) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine. But other causes are possible. Sciatica may be caused by spinal stenosis (the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back), degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis (when one vertebra slips forward over another one), and pregnancy (adds severe strain on the spine).
Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. Piriformis syndrome is named after the piriformis muscle, located in the lower part of the spine, connecting to the thigh bone. This muscle assists in hip rotation. The sciatic nerve runs beneath the piriformis muscle. And because the muscle is susceptible to injuries when we slip and fall, the sciatic nerves can also be affected, causing inflammation and pain.
Excess weight and not exercising on a regular basis can also irritate the sciatic nerves. Even wearing high heels or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft can add to the irritation.
Sciatic nerve compression can result in the loss of feeling, paralysis of a single limb or group of muscles, and insomnia.
How Can Chiropractors Help?
A chiropractor uses spinal adjustments to facilitate faster healing. For patients with sciatica, chiropractors can do the same thing. Chiropractic treatment is based on a simple principle: restricted spinal movement leads to pain and reduced function. By realigning the spine, the whole body can operate properly.
Your chiropractor can, therefore, help you heal without the need for surgery and medications.
That said, chiropractors may approach sciatica pain differently, depending on the patient’s condition. Adjustments, also known as spinal manipulations, are the core of chiropractic care. It frees restricted movement of the spine and helps restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spine. Sometimes it involves a swift, high velocity thrust to a particular area. Other times, it involves gentle and minimal pressure.
It is worth noting that sciatica can be caused by other disorders that are beyond the scope of chiropractic practice. If the chiropractor determines that the patient’s condition requires treatment by another type of doctor, they will be referred to another specialty. In some cases, chiropractors may continue to co-manage the patient with the other specialist.
Look for a chiropractic clinic near you today and experience the benefits of spinal manipulation for sciatica!
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