What is sciatica?
- Sciatica is a term used to describe irritation of the sciatic nerve, the widest and longest nerve in the human body.
- The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back, formed by several nerve roots as they exit the spine.
- Once formed, the sciatic nerve runs through the buttock and down the back of the leg, eventually branching off into smaller nerves that supply most of the leg, ankle and foot.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica can have a variety of causes, including:
- Disc Herniation
- Spinal Stenosis
- Spinal Misalignment (Subluxation)
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Nutritional Deficiencies / Toxicities
How do I know if I have sciatica?
- You may find that your pain follows the distribution of the nerve - down the back of the leg, into the calf and perhaps even into your feet and toes.
- Numbness and tingling, burning sensations, weakness of the leg and shooting pains are all also common to sciatic nerve irritation.
- Pain may be sharp at times and disrupt normal daily activities such as sleep, walking and driving.
How do chiropractors help with sciatica?
- Your chiropractor will first perform a thorough health history and physical examination to determine the source of your sciatic nerve problem.
- Chiropractors use techniques to help to restore proper alignment to your spine, relieving pressure on your nervous system.
- Correction of misalignments called "subluxations" in your spine provide relief of sciatic pain.
Keep it moving with Chiropractic!
Bed Rest is Not an Effective Treatment for Sciatica
- Research has demonstrated that subluxations in your spine can induce inflammation and irritate the nerve roots exiting the spine which eventually form the sciatic nerve.
- Studies have also shown that nerve roots can be stimulated through motion of the vertebrae during a chiropractic adjustment.
- Research shows the effectiveness of chiropractic care on sciatica, with patients reporting greater relief of pain, fewer pain days during recovery, quicker return to work and fewer drugs needed compared to those going without chiropractic.
- After considering the safe and effective nature of chiropractic and the risks associated with drugs and surgery, it makes a lot of sense that nearly all patients should complete a course of conservative care before considering more invasive means.
- In fact, one study showed that most patients benefited from spinal correction to the same degree as if they underwent surgery.
- More invasive medical care has its place in some situations; your chiropractor can help advise you on your specific situation.
Sciatica is a symptom not a cause.