Sciatica is known to affect more than 3 million people each year in the United States.
Sciatica can cause severe and persistent nerve pain that originates in the spine and typically extends down the back of the leg.
The pain from sciatica can be excruciating and debilitating, sometimes making standing or sitting difficult or impossible.
If you or someone you love is suffering from sciatica, you've come to the right place.
In the article below, we will learn about sciatica and how chiropractic can relieve the painful symptoms of sciatica.
Table of Contents
- The Sciatic Nerve
- Sciatica is a Set of Symptoms
- Risk Factors for Sciatic Pain and Damage
- Chiropractic For Sciatica
- Accurate Diagnosis of Sciatica
- Chiropractic Adjustments
- Chiropractic Exercises
- Spinal Decompression
- Lifestyle Changes
- Visit a Chiropractor To Treat Your Sciatica
The Sciatic Nerve
As the longest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve is actually a bundle of five nerves that exit from the lumbar spine and sacral foramen.
These nerves group together at the piriformis muscle in the buttocks to form the large sciatic nerve that travels down the back of your legs.
The sciatic nerve provides strength and sensation to the legs and connects major muscles with the spinal cord.
Any impairment or issue with the sciatic nerve can cause muscle weakness, numbness, and severe pain.
Check out our related post: Chiropractic Care for Sciatica
Sciatica Is A Set of Symptoms, Not a Diagnosis
Sciatica often misunderstood and is not the cause of the irritation at the nerve root.
Instead, it is a set of symptoms.
Some of the conditions that cause sciatic pain are:
- Herniated or slipped discs
- Piriformis syndrome (muscle in the buttocks becomes tight or spasms)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal creates pressure on nerves)
- Spondylolisthesis (slippage of a vertebra, narrowing the nerve exit)
- General wear and tear on the lower spine
Risk Factors for Sciatic Pain and Damage
As our bodies age, risk increases for sciatic nerve issues due to age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated discs and bone spurs.
This is an important reason why continuous and preventative chiropractic care is essential to your spinal and overall health.
Obesity also increases the risk of sciatica, as excess weight can contribute to spinal changes.
Diabetes increases the risk of nerve damage, which is another risk factor for sciatica.
Other lifestyle factors, such as your occupation and prolonged sitting, can play a role in the development of sciatica.
Chiropractic For Sciatica
While sciatica pain can be debilitating, chiropractic treatment can relieve it gently and naturally.
Chiropractic care for sciatica entails treating the pain without costly and harmful side effects.
Below we will talk about how a chiropractor can help with sciatica.
Accurate Diagnosis of Sciatica
Chiropractic care is based on the idea that restricted spinal movement and subluxations can lead to pain and reduced function throughout the body.
If you are experiencing sciatic pain, a chiropractor will examine you and review your medical history to determine the cause of the pain.
Your chiropractor will allow your body to heal itself with drug-free, non-invasive treatment.
An adjustment is your chiropractor's bread and butter.
Your chiropractor can apply spinal manipulations to allow a herniated disc to rest back into position and take the pressure off the sciatic nerve.
Chiropractic adjustments can also free limited spinal movement and restore misaligned vertebral discs.
This technique can vary from a quick high-velocity thrust to a combination of minimal force and gentle pressure.
Adjustments allow the chiropractor to gently realign the lower back vertebra so it's not pressing on the sciatic nerve.
This will lessen pain and regain nerve signal flow and mobility.
Your chiropractor can also use the manipulations to ease muscle spasms, which will help with long term relief.
Moving in particular ways can worsen sciatica pain. It can also reduce your sciatic pain.
Depending on the root cause of your problem, a chiropractor will recommend exercises to avoid sciatic nerve aggravation and help in releasing the pressure that comes from inflamed and tight muscles.
The exercises can include stretching programs that you can at home.
Yoga is also useful for relieving sciatica pain.
The reclining pigeon pose can stretch the piriformis muscle, release pressure on the nerve, and ease irritations.
Always talk to your chiropractor before starting a new exercise regime.
Sometimes the discs in your spine can dry out naturally and become thinner.
This results in pinched nerves and compression of the spine.
Chiropractors use spinal decompression to relieve the compression of the nerves that cause sciatica pain.
That can include techniques to lengthen the spine and enhance the space between the vertebrae.
Chiropractors look to improve all aspects of your life.
They might recommend a new way to stand, sit, sleep, and lift to protect the positioning of the sciatic nerve.
These tips can help you strengthen your back muscles to keep the disc in place.
The stronger your back is, the less likely discs will slip to put pressure on your sciatic nerve.
By recommending lifestyle changes, chiropractors can help ease sciatica pain both in the short and long term.
Visit a Chiropractor To Treat Your Sciatica
Whenever possible, opt for conservative treatments over more invasive and drastic measures like surgery or painkillers.
Chiropractic care and adjustments are a viable option for treating the pain and symptoms associated with sciatic nerve issues.
A 2006 study found that manipulations helped relieve pain due to acute back pain and sciatica.
Another study published in 2010 found that sixty percent of sciatica patients experienced the same level of relief from chiropractic adjustments as patients who eventually had surgery.
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