Sciatica is, literally, a pain in the rear
Your sciatic nerve – the longest in your body – branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg to your toes. Sciatica is the pain you feel when that nerve is compressed, most commonly by a herniated disk, a bone spur on your spine, or a narrowing of your spine.
Normally, sciatica affects only one side of your body. And even though sciatica can be severe pain in your bottom or shooting down your leg, most cases can be resolved without surgery, including chiropractic treatments.
Sciatica is fairly common, affecting about 40% of all Americans sometime during their lifetime. The good news is that it responds to medical treatment without long-term complications.
How can you tell if you have sciatica? Normally, your symptoms will include:
- Leg pain that worsens when you’re sitting
- Burning or tingling feeling running down your leg
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving your foot or leg
- Pain so intense that it’s hard for you to stand up
- Consistent pain on one side of your lower back or buttocks
There are steps you can take to help prevent sciatic nerve pain. The most common risk factors for those who have the pain include:
- Obesity, which increases the stress on your spine and can trigger sciatica pain
- Age, which can lead to bone spurs and herniated discs that often trigger sciatica
- A job that requires heavy lifting, twisting, and lifting, or driving for long hours
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Diabetes, which has a risk of nerve damage
What Are My Treatment Options?
Fortunately, there are several approaches to help alleviate sciatica. A chiropractic adjustment is by far the top treatment of choice. Combined with physiotherapy methods such as ultrasound, electric muscle stimulation, traction, heat and ice, the chiropractic adjustment has been proven scientifically to alleviate the pressure on the surrounding nerve tissue.
A common cause of sciatica is the entrapment of the nerve in a surrounding muscle called the piriformis. Most chiropractic doctors commonly look to this muscle as a secondary contributor to most sciatic nerve cases and are sure to address it with therapy, muscle release and exercise instruction.