Sciatica

Sciatica has been described as a “real pain in the butt”. This is because it is a condition that manifests as radiating pain in the lower back that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve into the buttock, and/or down o ne or both legs – often reaching as far as the foot.

The pain can be mild to excruciating- burning, tingling, stabbing, or aching anywhere along the sciatic nerve. Walking or sitting can become difficult, and in severe cases the pain may be associated with muscle weakness, diminished reflexes, and numbness.

Sciatica is an irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. O ne of the most common causes of sciatic leg pain is the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. It can be accompanied by bulging or herniation of the discs which separate each spinal bone. This can irritate or put pressure o n the sciatic nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord. It is also frequently caused by peripheral nerve compression. Other reasons for sciatic pain may be related to degenerative joint disease, old sports or occupational injuries that never healed correctly complicate hip fractures, penetrating trauma, infection, spinal tumor, bone spurs, back strain or emotional stress.

The primary goals in the treatment of sciatica are to promote soft tissue healing, relieve the pain, and prevent recurrence. The removal of whatever is causing the pressure of the sciatic nerve – misalignment of the lumbar spine, herniated lumbar disc, spasm of the buttock muscles, abnormal stress o n the body/spine/nerves-is necessary to restore the nerve’s health.

Conventional medical treatments of sciatica usually include pain medications, muscle relaxants, prolonged bed rest, and surgery; all of which are not pleasant for the patient. A more natural approach has proven, in many cases, to be as or more effective, and it does not bring with it the frightening risks and the undesirable side effects.

Chiropractic adjustments are the most effective natural treatments for relief of back pain. Your chiropractors approach is to use carefully directed and controlled pressure to remove interference from spinal structures. These chiropractic adjustments and other chiropractic methods in combination with exercises and simple education o n self-care have proven to be much more successful than the traditional prescriptions of extended bed rest and drugs.

Prevention

  • Wear comfortable shoes and avoid high heels
  • Do not sit in o ne position for extended periods of time
  • Stretching is good- slow, yoga- like methods are helpful
  • Swimming is often a great exercise for sciatic sufferers
  • Strengthen the muscles of the lower back and abdominal area
  • Regular chiropractic check-ups

References

  • Sciatic Neuralgia by Lew Hugg D.C., Jason Flanagan DC, David Brady D.C.
  • Rehabilitation of the Spine by Craig Liebenson, D.C.
  • Sciatica by Back Talk Systems, Inc.