Back pain is quite common with many people and can manifest in many forms. Back pain can vary from mild to severe and can eventually become chronic if left untreated. While prescription medication and some form of physical therapy or stretching may relieve short-term back pain, severe cases may eventually require surgery or a high level of therapy.
A common type of chronic back pain is a condition known as Sciatica. Sciatica affects the lower back half of the body and releases a shooting pain towards the legs. Fortunately, it’s easy to identify and can be treated with the help of a chiropractor.
How does a chiropractor identify and treat sciatica?
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a radiating pain that runs through the sciatic nerve. The Sciatic nerve goes through the hips and down the leg. The condition can cause pain in both the hips and the leg or just one area. typically affects just one side of the body, which makes it easier to identify.
How does sciatica occur?
Technically, Sciatica starts with a herniated disk in your lower spine. Often, the vertebrata (spine bones) comes with a flat, flexible round disk at the lower part. If this disk wears down due to accidents and pressure, the soft connective tissue pushes out as a condition known as herniation.
Herniation puts pressure on the nerves around it which are usually the sciatica nerves which results in a pain that radiates from the lower back into the back or side of the legs. The pain may range from mild to severe along with weakness in the leg or foot.
Sciatic is similar to bone spurs and spinal stenosis (narrowing), because it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of the back.
Common symptoms of sciatica
Typical symptoms of Sciatica may include:
- Hip region pain
- Lower back pain coming from the spine
- Legs that burn or tingle
- Difficulty moving feet and legs
- Burning or tingling sensations around the legs
- Neck pain that may make it difficult to move or stand
Note, Sciatica affects people in varying degrees. For some, it can be temporary and only manifests with mild symptoms. For others, it could be severe or chronic.
Treatment for sciatica
Typically, treatment for sciatica comes in different forms, which include physical therapy, medications, or even surgery. If you are looking to cure Sciatica, you may look into the following treatment options.
1. Mobility and exercise: The last thing most people want to do while their back or legs hurt is walk and exercise, studies show that the inflammation improves when the patient is mobile and exercising. Becoming immobile worsens the condition, and a physical therapist can assist with prescribing exercises that may improve mobility.
2. Alternative therapies: Any treatment that emphasizes stretching and mobility such as yoga, Pilates and massage therapy have been shown to improve sciatica outcomes.
3. Medicines: With a sciatic condition, drugs like Acetaminophen and NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) can help relieve pain, but you should consult your primary care physician before treating any pain with medication.
4. Chiropractic Care
How A Chiropractor Treats Sciatica
Since a sciatic condition involves back pain, chiropractic treatment may help. Chiropractors are experts at identifying the cause of body pains. Oftentimes with Sciatica, a chiropractor may find the spine manipulation technique effective in treating Sciatica.
Spinal manipulation is very effective, and studies show that 60% of patients with this condition felt relief from chiropractic care. A study by McMorland, et. al. (2010) estimates that by using spinal manipulative therapy rather than surgery and prescription medication, the American public can save $3 billion dollars treating back pain each year.
Spinal manipulation is a drug free, safe procedure when done by an expert chiropractor. With spinal adjustments, a chiropractor can effectively re-align the spine without complications in most cases.
The first step in chiropractic care for sciatica is a physical exam with diagnostic testing to determine the area of pain and causes. The chiropractor will put the patient on the chiropractic table do a series of light thrusts on the spine, with their hands. This technique involves minimal pressure, while realigning the spine. This procedure may result in clicking or popping sounds in response.
After the spinal adjustment is done, the chiropractor may encourage a deep massage to further treat the pain. Chiropractic is not a one and done treatment and will likely require at least two to three more consultations to continue to assess the improvement and determine a longer care plan. The goal of the chiropractor is to get you into a maintenance schedule, so your spine remains healthy.
A Chiropractor has been proven to help with Sciatica. If you have ever experienced symptoms of sciatic, come into your local Harker Heights chiropractor. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can begin to feel relief.