Managing Sciatica

Sciatica

Sciatica is defined as pain that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks and down the back of one or both legs, caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerves, the largest nerves of the body.  It usually begins as an acute pain in the lower back and then radiates down the back of either or both legs.  There are 5 pairs of nerves that exit the spine in the lower back.  These nerves make up what we know as the sciatic nerves.  If the vertebrae or bones in the lower back are misaligned or out of place; or the disc between the vertebrae are swollen, bulged or herniated, the result is pressure on those nearby nerves.  This can cause tremendous pain and normal daily activities become almost impossible.

Symptoms

  • Lower back or hip pain
  • Pain in rear or leg that is worse when sitting
  • Sensation changes on the back of the calf or the sole of the foot
  • Numbness, tingling, burning, pain in back of leg, calf or the sole of the foot
  • Weakness of the knee or foot
  • Difficulty walking
  • Inability to move the foot (in severe cases)
  • Inability to bend the knee (in severe cases)

Treatment

  • Chiropractic care works on correcting misaligned or out of place vertebrae and can remove the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve, reducing pain and improving flexibility and function.
  • X-rays and or MRI may be ordered by your chiropractor as well.
  • Ice/Cold therapy reduces inflammation and helps to control sciatic pain.
  • Ultrasound is a gentle heat created by sound waves that penetrates deep into tissues.  Ultrasound increases circulation and helps to reduce muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness and pain.
  • Interferential therapy (electrical nerve stimulation) is a muscle stimulating machine where variable intensities  of electric current control acute pain and reduce muscle spasms.
  • Physical therapy and or strengthening exercises may be introduced when pain subsides.

The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica.  A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments.

Referrals

Sciatica can be caused by other disorders beyond the scope of chiropractic practice.  If the doctor of chiropractic determines the patient’s disorder requires treatment by another type of doctor, then the patient is referred to another specialty.  In some cases, the referring chiropractor may continue to treat the patient and co-manage the patient’s care with the other specialist.

 

Sciatica can be managed so that you can get back to doing the things you love.