Ask anyone who has suffered from sciatica, and they’ll tell you the burning, shooting pain often associated with it can be miserable. Although sciatica is a relatively common form of low back and leg pain, the true meaning of the term is often misunderstood. Sciatica is actually a set of symptoms—not a diagnosis— for what is irritating the nerve root and causing the pain. Sufferers usually experience a persistent pain along the sciatic nerve, which is the longest and widest nerve in the body, running from the lower back through the buttocks and down the back of each leg. It controls the muscles of the lower leg and provides sensation to the thighs, legs, and the soles of the feet.
Sciatica occurs most frequently in people between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. It usually develops as a result of general wear and tear on the structures of the lower spine, not as a result of injury. The causes of sciatica can vary; Cleveland Clinic reports that it might be a symptom of a "pinched nerve" affecting one or more of the lower spinal nerves. The nerve might be pinched inside or outside of the spinal canal as it passes into the leg. Sciatica can be caused by a herniated or slipped disc putting pressure on a nerve root, or the piriformis muscle can put pressure on and irritate the sciatic nerve; spinal stenosis can also put pressure on the nerves resulting in pain.
Chiropractic can make a huge difference when it comes to sciatica. According to the ACA, treatment plans will vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem. Chiropractic offers a non-invasive, drug-free treatment option, aimed at restoring spinal movement, improving function while decreasing pain and inflammation. Depending on the cause of the sciatica, a chiropractic treatment plan may include spinal adjustments, ice/heat therapy, rehabilitative exercises, and other treatment methods. In addition, chiropractic spinal manipulation is proven to be effective and has minimal side effects.
At Carlson Chiropractic Center, we are committed to bringing each of our patients better health, and a better way of life. If you want to know firsthand what a difference chiropractic can make in your sciatic pain, as well as your overall health and wellbeing, give us a call today!