Sciatica is a condition that affects up to 40% of the population. The symptoms include: a sharp shooting pain which travels down your leg, or a dull persistent deep ache, or numbness and tingling. If, during long periods of sitting or standing, you experience discomfort or persistent low back or leg pain, you could very well be dealing with sciatic nerve irritation.
What is Sciatica?
When the sciatic nerve is entrapped, irritated, or compressed the set of symptoms experienced are referred to as Sciatica. Being the largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve originates in the lumbar spine and travels down the back of each leg. The nerve becomes compressed at times by injuries, degenerative spinal changes, or muscular tension, causing the painful symptoms known as sciatica. Patients often confuse sciatica with other types of low back pain possibly caused by strained muscles or improper lifting methods.
- Radiating pain travelling from the low back, through the buttock and down the leg
- Usually only one side of the body is affected, though in rare cases bilateral sciatica can be experienced
- Burning sensation in the low back, buttock or leg
- Numbness of the buttock, leg, or foot
- Tingling radiating down the leg
Many patients find their symptoms become more severe during long periods of standing or sitting, as well as with activities requiring a slight forward bend, such as preparing meals or washing dishes.
- Herniated Spinal Disc: The most common cause of sciatica, affecting about one in fifty individuals, is disc herniation. When the gelatinous inner layer of a disc pushes through the tough outer layer it applies pressure on the sciatic nerve root, causing pain.
- Spinal Stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal from which the sciatic nerve originates can occur with the natural aging process, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve root.
- Injury: Sudden, traumatic injury or improper lifting techniques can cause injury to the sciatic nerve itself or to the surrounding structures, resulting in pressure on the nerve.
How Can Chiropractic Therapy Help Sciatica?
One of the most effective, yet gentlest forms of treatment for sciatic pain and irritation relief is non-invasive chiropractic therapy. Once your chiropractor has determined the underlying cause of your sciatica symptoms, the most effective course of treatment will be formulated, and may include:
- Active Release Technique: Also known as movement-based massage, can help release the tension, reduce pain and restore normal range of motion.
- Spinal Adjustments: Your vertebrae are helped back into alignment with gentle spinal manipulation, reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve root.
If you have low back pain or believe you are suffering from sciatica, we, at Innovative Chiropractic in Mill Creek, WA, are dedicated to delivering compassionate, knowledgeable and effective treatment to our patients. Call us today!