Often misunderstood, sciatica is not itself a diagnosis / condition; it’s a set of symptoms. As the name suggests, it is referring to the pain results from the irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Therefore, it is not the cause of the compression or irritation at the nerve root. The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in the body, it’s formed from several of the lower spinal nerves that joint and run around the back of the hip joint and extends along the back of the thigh. So, sciatica is basically a leg pain caused by a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine.
Many people associate any back or leg pain as sciatica, yet there are numerous other causes for these pains. However, sciatica is most commonly resulted from a spinal disc bulge/herniation in the lower lumbosacral region that irritates the sciatica nerve. When the disc material squeezes out between the vertebrae and presses on one or more of the spinal nerves that form the sciatic nerve, this irritates and causes compression leading to inflammation.
When sciatica happens, you may feel a shooting pain down through your buttock area and along the back of your thigh. Sometimes, the pain can even travel down to your calf and the sole of your foot. All these symptoms can happen with or without the occurrence of low back pain. Fortunately, it almost always involves only one side of the leg. As a result, individuals with sciatica can walk with a limp due to the pain in the involved leg. Burning pain, numbness, and tingling are commonly experienced for those dealing with sciatica.
Common causes of sciatica are:
- Herniated or slipped disc (most common cause)
- Piriformis syndrome (a buttock muscle becomes tight or spasms)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal, put additional pressure on nerves)
- Spondylolisthesis (forward slippage of a vertebra causes a narrowing the nerve exit)
- General wear and tear on the lower spine
Even though sciatica is not a condition, but it can be extremely debilitating to deal with. Symptoms can range from very mild and tolerable to excruciating pain and discomfort. Many patients with severe symptoms will experience loss of muscle strength when walking or going up stairs, pain that stop them from falling sleep at night and/or pain that make them can’t get out of bed. Activities of daily living (ADL) can be so critically affected due to the symptoms suffered.
Can Chiropractic help with your sciatica?
Chiropractic treatment and spinal adjustments are a worthwhile option for treating the pain and symptoms associated with sciatic nerve problems. A 2010 study published in Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that 60% of sciatica patients who hadn’t found relief from other therapies and then tried Chiropractic spinal manipulation experienced the same level of relief as patients who eventually had surgery. Combined with trigger point therapy, spinal traction, and CBP treatment method, our practice has high success rate in treating individuals with Sciatica.
Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations, Spine Journal, Feb. 2006