Sciatica can be debilitating and often painful. Patients often experience:
- Pain in the buttocks or leg that worsens when sitting
- A “locked up” feeling which reduces the ability to move
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty using your leg or foot
- A shooting pain that makes standing difficult
- Burning or tingling down one or both legs
Do these symptoms sound familiar? Does the pain change when you coughing, sneezing or make any kind of movement? Chances are, you have sciatica.
What Is Sciatica?
Multiple pairs of nerves exit the spine in the lower back to form the sciatic nerve. These nerves control the sensation and movement of the low back and legs. Sciatica often, but not always, involves the soft pulpy discs between each spinal bone While a disc can’t “slip,” it can bulge, herniate or rupture. This can put direct pressure on the nearby nerves. When the disc is not to blame, there is often a decrease in the function of the low back muscles and/or bones. This can increase the tension around and on these nerves, often resulting in symptoms.
In both cases, the result is swelling and inflammation which, depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected, may cause pain to radiate to the leg and even down to the foot or toes.
What can I do to stop the pain
While sciatica can be debilitating, it rarely produces permanent nerve damage—especially with prompt treatment. Though it is often easier to wait and see if the pain goes away on its own, getting a comprehensive consultation and examination from a chiropractor can help avoid further discomfort and potential damage. Chiropractors are trained to identify and diagnose conditions such as sciatica while also identifying any “red flags” that might need more immediate treatment.
Multiple studies have shown that chiropractic care is preferred to taking over the counter medication or surgery when symptoms start.
A main challenge to sciatica is that patients in pain want to feel better instantly. Because sciatica often involves multiple body systems (muscular, skeletal, nervous, and immune systems) and chiropractic is focused on restoring function to the body and allowing it to heal itself, relief of pain often moves at its own pace.
If you’re dealing with sciatic nerve pain, consider giving our practice a call and see what we can do to help you get out of pain and back to your life.