What is Sciatica and How is it Treated?
Are you experiencing pain due to sciatica?
Have you been looking for relief, but without success?
Understanding sciatica and how it’s treated can be the difference between knowing what type of treatment is right for you and living with the pain for weeks, months and even years.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve is the source of pain. The sciatic nerve is actually a bundle of spinal nerves that exits the spinal column in the lower back. They come together on each side of the spine and travel down each leg to the toes. This nerve is very important since it relays sensation and controls the muscles in the legs.
When you experience sciatica, you may have lower back pain along with pain that shoots or travels down the back of your leg, sometimes to the foot and toes.
It is estimated that 40% of the general population will experience sciatica pain at some point in their lifetime. Often this can be disabling. Sciatica accounts for more work loss and increased costs than low back pain alone.
In some cases sciatica shows up not as pain that travels down the legs, but numbness and tingling, or a burning sensation. Along with pain, you may experience weakness in specific leg muscles. For some, the pain may travel down the front or side of their legs.
The pain itself can vary – it can be a constant throbbing pain that doesn’t let up, or it can be mild in nature. It can flare up for a short period of time and go away only to return days, weeks, or months later. You may notice your pain improve with a change of position. When you lay down the pain may get better, or when you lean to one side, the pain may let up. Still, for some, the pain can be so bad that sitting, standing, bending over and lying down are nearly impossible.
Causes of Sciatica
There are many causes of sciatica, but the most common are those that affect the relationship between spinal nerves and the spinal column itself. This may include spinal misalignments or displacements of the vertebra, disc bulges, and herniations. Some causes of spinal misalignments and disc herniations include car accidents, sports injuries, slip and falls, and repetitive stress injuries from sitting and lifting.
Just as there is more than one way to cook an egg, there is more than one way to treat sciatica.
Most people begin with over-the-counter medications to help reduce pain.
If those don’t work, other options are available, such as:
- Massage therapy and physical therapy, which involve stretching and strengthening muscles.
- More invasive options like injections or surgery.
An assessment by a specific structural chiropractor to determine the cause and source of the sciatic pain is crucial in the treatment process.
If the cause of the sciatica pain is misalignments of the vertebra and/ or bulges in the spinal discs, then safe, gentle spinal corrections along with disc reducing exercises are used to correct the problem.
Come to Pivotal Chiropractic in Ann Arbor for a Chiropractor Who Puts You First!
We understand that healthcare choices are critical decisions and that you have many different options in Ann Arbor and the surrounding communities. If you have back pain, neck pain, or tingling or numbness in your hands and feet, it’s time to see a chiropractor. To schedule a complimentary consultation, where a conversation is never a commitment, contact us at 734-221-0362.