Do You Have Sciatica?
Identifying The problem
Sciatica pain differs from person to person. It typically is a pain that starts in the lower back and shoots down one leg. The amount of pain and intensity can range anywhere from mild to severe. Those who suffer from sciatica often experience radiating pain, burning, numbness or tingling that travels through the hip and down the leg. There may also be excruciating pain while standing or an escalated pain in one leg while sitting. This could be accompanied by constant lower back pain.
What Causes Sciatica?
Understand what is causing you pain
Sciatica happens when the sciatic nerve is being pinched. This compression in the nerve is the cause of all symptoms that occur. A chiropractor can evaluate a patient and determine what is causing the sciatic nerve to be pinched. Whether through genetics or an injury, in some cases disc bulging or herniation can be the underlying cause of sciatica. The strain of pregnancy can often cause sciatica issues, especially in the third trimester. Some spinal disorders could also be the culprit. There is a muscle in the lower spine called the piriformis muscle that the sciatic nerve runs beneath. If this muscle is injured or has arthritis, this can cause the sciatic nerve to be pinched. Another cause is a misaligned vertebra. Whether or not the cause is something that a chiropractor can help with, they have the ability to refer a patient to someone who can.
Methods Used by Chiropractors to Treat Sciatica
Help you relieve pain and get back on your feet
Chiropractors have several different methods that they can try to help a patient with their sciatica problems. Depending on the patient and their specific needs, these methods might help relieve the pain caused by sciatica.
- Massage by A Massage Therapist
- Therapeutic massage is more intense than a regular massage. It targets sciatica directly in order to loosen up the tightened muscle that might be causing it to pinch the nerve.
- Chiropractors are known for manipulating the spine back into the correct position. This is done using several different methods. Some of the methods are short thrusts and applied pressure; firm or soft, depending on the situation
- Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves that can penetrate the soft tissues using gentle heat, which can ease muscle spasms or cramping that might be causing sciatica.
Methods Used by Chiropractors to Treat Sciatica (Continued)
Help you relieve pain and get back on your feet
- Spinal Decompression
- Chiropractors use different techniques to lengthen the spine and create more space between the discs. When the discs become compressed it can cause pinching of nerves resulting in sciatica. Creating space again can loosen up that pinched nerve.
- Chiropractic Exercises
- A chiropractor can recommend exercises that can be done at home which can relieve or prevent sciatica. These stretching exercises can relieve pressure on the muscle that might be causing sciatica.
Sciatica is a very unpleasant experience for everyone who has dealt with it. There’s no need to cope with the pain when there are treatments available for those who need it. Chiropractors are trained in many various ways to help diagnose and treat sciatica. If, however, it is beyond our skills we will refer you to other skilled professionals that can better assist you with your needs.
Still, want to learn more?
Check Out the Frequently Asked Questions About Sciatica
What Triggers Sciatica?
Sciatica nerve pain can bring your life to a halt when it occurs. It’s excruciating and can make doing even the most straightforward task hard. Here are some tips on what triggers sciatica to help you potentially avoid it in the future. Prolonged sitting can trigger sciatica, so it can be helpful if you notice that you’re sitting for long periods of time that you get up occasionally and move around. This movement can be beneficial beyond just preventing sciatica pain as a prolonged period of sitting can also cause back pain and other conditions. Some of the other factors that trigger sciatica, such as weight and age, are not as easily adjusted. Bearing that in mind, you can work on changing up your diet and adding exercise to your day to try to reduce your weight. It can be a good idea to speak with your physician when you make these kinds of changes to your life. Often, they can make suggestions to help you if you’re not sure where to start. There are also some health conditions that can trigger sciatica pain, such as diabetes, back disc issues, degeneration, stress fractures in your spine, and the narrowing of your spinal canal. Getting the proper treatment for these conditions can help to prevent your sciatica from acting up.
How Do You Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Dealing with sciatic nerve pain can be a big bummer and make you want to stay in bed all day long. Here are some tips on what you should do to relieve your sciatic nerve pain. It may seem counterintuitive, but you should stretch and try to exercise. Stretches and exercising can help to reduce your nerve pain. Gentle exercise and stretching works the muscles and may strengthen your joints. Just don’t overdo it, as you could cause additional aches and pains to pop up. Use hot and cold therapy to help the pain. You’ll want to alternate the ice pack and the heating pad to help with the pain. Use the ice pack for 15 minutes once an hour, and then every two to three hours, use the heating pad for 15 minutes. You can also go with over-the-counter medications. You’ll want to go for medicines that work on inflammation along with pain relief, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. When you still can’t find relief, it’s time to speak with a medical professional. There may be an underlying cause to your sciatic nerve pain that needs to be treated or that more aggressive treatment options may be necessary. They can help guide you to finding what works best for you and get you some comfort from the pain.
How Long Does Sciatica Last?
One of the first questions you may have regarding sciatica when it strikes is how long it lasts. As with many medical questions, it’s a bit complicated to answer. Acute sciatica pain will last up to one to two weeks in length. For some patients, you may find that the pain can come and go over time. Some patients will notice that the areas that hurt due to the sciatic nerve go numb for a short time after the pain has resolved. The pain level can also vary, with some people experiencing a sharp pain for hours while others may only experience it at certain times a day, or they may have mild pain. For many suffers, acute sciatica will go away on its own with minimal treatment at home. Often, this involves over-the-counter medication, applying heat and ice, stretching, and exercising. Chronic sciatic nerve pain can last a lot longer and become a life-long pain that needs to be handled. The good news is that often chronic sciatica isn’t as painful as acute sciatica in many circumstances, but it may not respond to the same treatments. Speaking with a health professional is often necessary when it comes to chronic sciatica.