One of the most frequent complaints made by patients when visiting a chiropractor is sciatica. Some patients may not even know what sciatica is, but most often point to their back, hips, or the outer sides of their leg. These are the main areas where sciatic pain tends to surface. Technically speaking, sciatica is a symptom of an existing medical condition. It involves weakness and numbness of the leg that may result in difficulty standing or sitting in some positions. On rare occasions some people are unable to move their feet or bend their knees. These symptoms can appear gradually or abruptly overnight.
Causes of Sciatica
A chiropractor can help patients to understand the causes of sciatica. Sciatica pain is a result of the irritation or compression of sciatic nerves running from the back down to the feet. Static nerves relay messages from the back and brain to both legs, allowing for movement and sensitivity to touch. It’s what allows you to respond quickly to the pain you feel when you step on a Lego lying on the floor.
While the most common cause for sciatica is a herniated or slipped disc, there are many other reasons why someone may experience static pain. This includes:
- Piriformis Syndrome – Occurs as a result of piriformis muscles irritating or compressing static nerves.
- Spondylolisthesis – This occurs when your vertebra slides out of position and compresses sciatica nerves on the path.
- Spinal stenosis – Refers to the narrowing of the open channel where the spinal cord is located, which tends to put pressure on nerves travelling through the spine.
Chiropractic Care for Sciatica
Chiropractor experts help to reduce sciatica pain by ensuring that the pelvis and spine are aligned properly. This reverts the compression of sciatica nerves and helps to address any of the conditions discussed above. The treatment aims to enhance the body’s ability to heal itself, based on the theory that less movement along the spine can cause pain and hinder performance. It applies non-invasive techniques and does not involve the use of drugs so there is hardly any risk involved.
The type of chiropractic therapy used may vary depending on what led to sciatica pain in the patient. Chiropractors often offer different methods such as TENS, ultrasound, spinal manipulation (often referred to as spinal adjustments), and ice/cold therapy. Most people with Sciatica will respond well to chiropractic treatment but will still need to adjust their lifestyle to reduce the chances of reoccurring sciatica pain. It’s also important to exercise, eat healthily and maintain proper posture.