Sciatica: What It Is, Causes and Symptoms
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back and the buttocks to the legs and knees. When this nerve is irritated or compresses, it can lead to pain that may be mild or severe. Specifically, sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc. This occurs when the nucleus of a disc is pushed out of its proper position, and its gel-like substance leaks out and pressures on the sciatic nerve. Other causes of sciatica include lumbar spinal stenosis, muscle strain and a condition known as spondylolisthesis.
How Our Chicago Chiropractor Can Help Sciatica
With lumbar spinal stenosis, the spine’s channel narrows and compresses the sciatic nerve. The condition of spondylolisthesis is a slipped disc that may pinch the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, there is no one cause of sciatica. It may be due to joint, muscle and bone strain. Basically, anything that irritates the sciatic nerve can result in sciatica. The common risk factors for sciatica include occupation, age and lifestyle. As we age, there is a natural deterioration of the spinal discs. Jobs that require the lifting of heavy items often put one at risk. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop sciatica.
The primary symptom of sciatica is a shooting pain along the sciatic nerve. It may be a pain in the back of the leg, lower back or buttocks. Pain can range from mild to severe, but often is aggravated when you sit for long periods of time. Other symptoms of sciatica may include leg numbness or tingling sensation in the toes and feet.
Treatment at ReAlign Chiropractic in Chicago
A chiropractor will do a comprehensive examination to diagnose sciatica, including neurological exam, physical exam, patient history and X-rays. Treatment may include manual spinal adjustments, spinal decompression therapy and massage therapy. With manual spinal adjustments, chiropractors use a gentle force to properly align the spine’s discs to eliminate sciatic nerve compression. Many patients experience some pain relief after just one adjustment. Spinal decompression therapy is a motorized traction therapy that gently increases the space between the spinal discs. The goal is to cause the discs to retract to proper position. This type of therapy also accelerates the healing process of bulging and herniated discs. Massage therapy offers many benefits for sciatica. Massage therapists use kneading motions along the affected area to relax muscles, stimulate blood flow and reduce pain associated with sciatica. With increased circulation, there is more delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the injured area for faster healing.
At ReAlign Chiropractic, we devise an individual treatment plan to treat your sciatica. We have a holistic approach to healing and use different modalities for an optimal outcome. If you are suffering from sciatica, call us to schedule an appointment. Healing begins at ReAlign Chiropractic.