Sciatic pain is often described as tingling, pain or numbness produced by an irritation or entrapment of the nerve roots (3rd lumbar to the 3rd sacral nerve roots) that make up the Sciatic Nerve. Sciatica occurs when this nerve is compressed, irritated or inflamed. The typical referral pain of sciatica pain begins in your back or buttocks and moves down the back of your leg, radiating around the outside of your knee and lower leg into your big toe and second toe. Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur.
Sciatica can result from different stresses on the body, however it’s most commonly caused by a misalignment (subluxation) in the lower spine and pelvis that results in interference to the sciatic nerve. Although not always associated with pain, these subluxations can apply a good deal of pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause severe pain. Often traumatic events are not the cause of sciatica and less commonly noted causes would include arthritis, tumours, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and any degeneration as a result from long-term stress on the lower back. A Chiropractor is trained to find the underlying cause of the problem and will enlist the help of other health professionals if the cause is beyond the scope of chiropractic.
The effects of sciatic pain penetrate every aspect of life. Everyday life becomes a chore when suffering from sciatic pain; even simple tasks such as getting out of bed, coughing sneezing or even using the bathroom can become a painful experience. Those suffering with acute Sciatic pain understand how debilitating it can be, affecting every aspect of your personal and professional life. The emotional effects can be devastating as pain restricts our ability to truly enjoy life. Bed rest and inactivity is often the only thing that gives relief, though temporary. What some don’t realize is walking and movements that extend the spine may relieve symptoms such as lying with your back on an exercise ball. Sciatica rarely is the result from one event, accident or injury. Sciatica’s damage is an accumulation of a lifetime of neglect and improper care of the lumbar spine. With this in mind, it is essential for proper care and maintenance of the lumbar spine to prevent Sciatica from ever taking place. When Sciatica is first suspected, it is crucial that care begin immediately to prevent permanent damage or damage that requires dangerous invasive medical attention.
Many times people with sciatica wait until the pain becomes unbearable before they contact the Chiropractor. Waiting can cause long-term damage. It is important that you contact your Chiropractor when the pain originally begins. The first thing your Chiropractor will do is review your complete health history to determine when the problem began and the possible causes. Then a complete physical and chiropractic exam is performed and x-rays may be taken. Your Chiropractor will review and discuss the results with you and make recommendations for care.
The Chiropractic approach does not cover up the symptoms associated with Sciatica, but actually finds and takes care of the underlying causes. If nerve supply is diminished at all it must be restored so the body can repair and function optimally. Along with proper chiropractic adjustments, a program of rehabilitation is prescribed to maximise soft tissue healing and to build strength and stability to the area to prevent future injuries.