If you have sciatica, you’re not alone. Sciatica is one of the most common conditions seen by doctors, with anywhere from 10 to 15% of Americans having it at some point in their lives. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched, often as a result of muscle spasms or bulging discs in your spine. This can cause severe pain that travels from your back to your buttocks down your legs. It can be debilitating and hard to manage on your own—but luckily there are many things you can do right now to help relieve your symptoms and get back on track faster!
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition where there is pressure and/or irritation on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerves are the largest and longest nerves in your body. The sciatic nerve originates from your lower back (lumbar spine) and travels down the buttocks to the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot, and toes. Sciatica symptoms are pain, inflammation, weakness, burning, numbness, pins, and needles along the sciatic nerve path. This may include low back and or leg pain.
There are many causes of Sciatic (pinching of the Sciatic nerve) including:
- A Bulging, Protruding, or Herniated disc – Between each vertebra in the spine are soft tissue structures called discs. With trauma or injury, these discs can be compressed resulting in the disc material being pushed out. Think of the disc like a jelly donut. If you compress the donut some of the jelly will be pushed out. When the disc material pushes out we call that a bulging, protruding, or herniated disc. This results in pressure and irritation on the sciatic nerve.
- Subluxation – This is where the individual or whole spinal vertebra shifts out of their place causing pressure on the sciatic nerve causing sciatica.
- Spinal Stenosis – The spinal cord travels down the spine (vertebra) through a canal. When this canal becomes narrowed by several factors it can cause pressure or irritation on the spinal cord and or the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal Degenerative Disc Disease (Osteoarthritis) – This is when trauma or stress to the vertebrae (spine) happens over many years causing the discs to wear out. When the disc wears out the body responds by trying to protect itself with bone growth which is called Osteoarthritis. When the disc wears out it can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis syndrome – This occurs when the piriformis muscle becomes inflamed. Though uncommon, it causes irritation on the sciatic nerve.
Chiropractic care can help treat sciatica in a safe way
If you have sciatica, it is important to see a chiropractor right away. Chiropractic care is a safe, natural, and effective way to help with sciatica by gently adjusting the misaligned lumbar spine which results in freeing up the sciatic nerve that is pinching. A misalignment in the spine called a subluxation can cause nerve and disc pressure that results in stress to the whole body.
Chiropractic care offers many benefits for people suffering from back pain including:
- Relief from symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the legs (sciatica) due to compression of the spinal nerve roots at their point of exit from each vertebra.
- Improvement in mobility and flexibility through adjustments that reduce stress on the spine which may have become misaligned over time due to injury or degeneration
Should I see a doctor or a chiropractor for sciatica?
Chiropractors are qualified to treat and manage pain from sciatica. Chiropractic care is safe and has been shown to be effective in treating many types of back pain, including sciatica. For example, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that patients who were treated by chiropractors reported less pain than those who were only given medications or physical therapy.
In addition to helping you manage your symptoms, chiropractic care can also help you prevent future episodes of sciatica (and other related conditions). This is because chiropractic treatment focuses on correcting spinal misalignments that may contribute to nerve irritation or compression–a common cause of lower back pain such as sciatica.
Herfindahl Chiropractic Approach to Sciatica.
At Herfindahl Chiropractic we utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to help sciatica to ensure we get the best outcome for your Sciatica. This can include gentle adjustments to the lumbar spine (subluxations) and corrective therapeutic exercises to stabilize and strengthen the spine and also relax the sciatic nerve. At Herfindahl Chiropractic we also perform Neuromuscular Electrostimulation, Cold laser therapy, Spinal traction, and Spinal Decompression therapy to help treat your Sciatica. Spinal Decompression therapy is also an effective treatment for Sciatica that is caused by herniated, bulging (slipped disc) and degenerative disc disease.
If you are suffering from sciatica, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that your pain will become chronic and hard to treat. At Herfindahl Chiropractic, we can help with sciatica by identifying the cause of your pain and treating it using our specialized techniques.
Give our office a call today at (619) 295-3885!