What is sciatica?
Sciatica is the name given to the symptoms of leg pain and discomfort caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve – the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower spinal chord, passes through the buttocks and down the back of each leg.
Any irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve can produce the symptoms of sciatica, however it is most often caused by a herniated disc in the lower back which is pressing directly on (or ‘pinching’) the sciatic nerve. Other causes of sciatica can be tumours, bone irritation, internal bleeding, and even as a result of giving birth.
What are the symptoms?
The pain from sciatica is typically felt in the lower back (lumbar) area, below the buttocks around the back of the thigh, or running down the leg towards the knee. The level of pain or discomfort can vary depending on the circumstances, with the sensations ranging from a very sharp stabbing pain in the lower back, to a general numbness and warm tingling sensation felt in the legs.
In many cases, sciatica may be an ongoing cause of pain and can make common daily tasks difficult to complete. In extreme cases, walking came become difficult or even impossible.
How can a Chiropractor treat sciatica?
Chiropractic treatment of sciatica is unique in that it offers a drug free, non-surgical treatment of the condition. After an initial consultation and diagnosis, the correct course of treatment may then be identified. The primary Chiropractic treatment of sciatica is generally targeted spinal adjustment, which involves physical manipulation of the spine to realign the vertebrae and reduce inflammation and muscle pain. Spinal adjustment is pain free and a safe way to treat sciatic symptoms.
Other Chiropractic treatments may include ice/cold therapy, which also helps to reduce muscle inflammation and swelling in the back. Conversely an Ultrasound may be recommended, which uses sound waves to create a gentle warming sensation in the back muscles, thereby reducing swelling, cramping and muscle soreness.
How can I arrange my own treatment?
If you suffer from the symptoms of sciatica, or are experiencing any other lower back pain, a consultation at our Chiropractic practice may be the first step in becoming pain free. We can assess your condition, suggest a customised treatment plan, and work together to reduce your pain whilst restoring your health and mobility.