The nerve of Sciatica! The pain is there when you stand and maybe even there when you sit. No matter what you do, the pain radiating from your buttock down the back of your leg remains. The nerve of your body to attack you like this!
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a term that is used widely today for many types of pain. However, true sciatica refers to a specific condition that is treated by chiropractors all too frequently! The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve runs out of the spine in the lower back, down the back of the thigh, back of the calf and into the foot. It’s the inflammation of this nerve that is termed sciatica. Although the symptoms are often felt in the leg, the source is often the spine. When the nerve becomes irritated near the spine or buttock it sends pain signals along the course of the nerve down the leg. This pain is often very sharp and excruciating!
What causes sciatica?
There are many different causes of sciatica. Our Spinecare Adelaide chiropractors find that more often than not the cause is due to an underlying spine or pelvic problem. Specifically, restrictions or misalignments in the joints in the spine between the spinal bones (vertebrae) or pelvis (sacrum and ilium) may irritate the sciatic nerve root (where the nerve exits the spine). This irritation is what gives the intense sharp pain down the leg. When further nerve compression occurs, feelings of tingling, numbness and weakness in muscles can develop. Sciatica is often felt alongside persistent lower back pain.
There are many other causes of sciatica too, such as a herniated disc or bulging disc. Discs are the shock absorbers that sit in between our spinal bones (vertebrae). The centre of each disc is spongy and as the disc degenerates it can puncture through the tougher outer layer and press against the nerve. Piriformis syndrome involves the piriformis muscle which is a small muscle that runs across the buttock. When the muscle tightens or spasms, it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Women, especially active ones, experience this condition more frequently than men.
Other causes of sciatica include degenerative disc disease, arthritis, spondylo-listhesis, lumbar spinal stenosis and also more dangerous causes such as infection, cancer or bone inflammation. It’s vital to have the cause of sciatica diagnosed thoroughly by a Spinecare Adelaide chiropractor.
How can Spinecare Chiropractic help with sciatica?
Numerous studies show that chiropractic care is effective at quelling sciatica. One study compared chiropractic to bed rest, massage, electrical stimulation and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Results revealed patients who received chiropractic care showed a significant reduction in the length of care, swifter improvement in the signs and symptoms, a greater ability to continue working and significantly less worker disability compared to control subjects (Ann Swiss Chiro Assoc 1989;9:133-148). So if you experience sciatica pain then consider chiropractic before reaching for pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs or agreeing to surgery!Spinecare’s Adelaide chiropractors can help by firstly providing a thorough spinal examination to determine the cause of your sciatica pain during Your Initial Consultation. Once the cause is determined, our Adelaide chiropractor’s will sit down and explain your findings so that you know exactly what we believe is the problem during Your Report of Findings.
Our chiropractor’s will recommend a course of care and outline their expectations before beginning any treatment. Spinecare Chiropractic prides itself on providing safe, professional and painless treatment for sciatica pain relief. As well as our work in the clinic, our chiropractors may also provide advice, stretches or exercises to speed up your recovery and reduce the chance of future relapses.