Can Chiropractic Help with Sciatica?
Sciatica describes a condition that affects the sciatic nerve, which is one of the largest nerves in the body extending from the lumbar back all the way down the back of each leg. Sciatica by definition is a compression of the sciatic nerve that causes pain, burning sensations, and discomfort throughout the affected area. The sciatic nerve sends signals from your lower back all over your legs and buttocks, so when it becomes compressed for any reason the symptoms can be severe enough to hinder your day to day activities.
What does Sciatica feel like?
Depending on the severity of your sciatica, symptoms can vary widely. Most patients describe it as shooting leg pain that is achy and sharp, others describe it as the feeling of electric shock or pins and needles all over their legs and lower back. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling and burning sensations. The pain is usually localized to one side of the body and the sensations can even travel to the bottoms of your feet.
The causes of sciatica and how to avoid them:
Sciatica is triggered by compression of the lower lumbar spine. There are a number of minor things that can cause that compression such as not exercising regularly, having bad posture, sleeping on a soft mattress, muscle cramping, ect. More serious causes of Sciatica are related to health conditions such as a slipped or irritated vertebrae, pelvic trauma from an injury and pregnancy. The minor causes can usually be corrected with some lifestyle changes and regular chiropractic care, while the more serious health conditions will require a special care regimen and frequent appointments.
How can a Chiropractor help?
Seeking chiropractic care is one of the best moves you can make while suffering from Sciatica, simply because chiropractic care specializes in the health and movement of the spine. Any time your spine is tight or restricted it can lead to health issues. Regular chiropractic treatments not only correct the spine and alleviate current symptoms, but it helps your body along in the healing process and prevents more injuries in the future.
For chiropractic treatment to be effective it’s important to pinpoint the root cause of your Sciatica, so an appointment will likely begin with several tests to determine where the pain is localized and how serious the compression is. It’s also important to note that chiropractic care is non-invasive and is a great strategy if you would like to avoid surgery or pain medications.
What type of treatment can I expect?
Treatment will depend solely on the cause and severity of your Sciatica, but we will go over the most common treatment options below.
- Spinal Manipulation: This is the main practice of chiropractic care and will likely be the first treatment option. An adjustment will correct the misaligned vertebrae and allow the spine to move more freely. It’s often the case that once the spine is realigned the symptoms of Sciatica begin to dissipate.
- Cold Therapy: This type of treatment is used to reduce inflammation and provide some relief from pain. Since Sciatica is caused by pressure it can be beneficial to use cold temperatures to loosen the muscles around the spine and allow the spine to decompress.