What Causes Sciatica?
Any kind of pain that is caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica. Your sciatic nerve is the longest in the body; it runs from the back of your pelvis right down through your buttocks and both legs and ends at your feet. Whenever something irritates or compresses the sciatic nerve, you feel pain radiating from your lower back down your leg to your calf. The level of pain can range from relatively mild to excruciating.
In many instances, a slipped disc is the likely cause of sciatica, but on rare occasions there appears to be no obvious reason why someone has sciatica. There are also a few other potential causes:
- Degenerative Disc Disease: This is a breakdown of the discs that act as cushions between your vertebrae.
- Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition that involves one vertebra slipping forward over another one.
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: when the spinal canal in your lower back narrows.
When Should You Get Treatment for Sciatica?
Sciatica normally affects only one side of the lower body, though the pain can extend right to your toes. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- A tingling or burning down your leg.
- When it is difficult to even move your leg or foot or if you experience weakness or numbness when attempting to do so.
- Persistent pain on just one side of the buttock, which is made worse when you sit down.
- A shooting pain in either leg that makes it hard to stand up.
Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica
As always, chiropractic treatment depends on the specific causes of the ailment, and it is non-invasive and drug-free. Below, we look at some of the more commonly used chiropractic treatments for sciatica:
- Ice Therapy: This is excellent for reducing inflammation and can help to control the pain caused by sciatica.
- TENS Unit: This stands for Trans Electrical Nerve Stimulation and is a stimulating machine designed to reduce muscle spasms and control acute pain. While chiropractors use a large model, there are portable TENS units available to purchase.
- Ultrasound: This is heat created by sound waves, and it works by penetrating deep into your muscle tissues. It is known to not only increase your circulation but can also reduce cramping, swelling, pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
- Spinal Manipulation: Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to make small adjustments to your spine. The goal is to gradually reduce the nerve irritation responsible for sciatica symptoms. It is a method that is proven to be safe and effective, and when performed correctly, spinal manipulation should not hurt the patient.
On certain occasions, sciatica can be caused by issues that cannot be solved by chiropractic treatment alone. If this is the case, your chiropractor may refer you to a specialist. In these instances, your chiropractor may continue to administer treatment while working in tandem with the specialist as a means of providing you with the best results.