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The term “sciatica” is often used as though it were a condition itself, but in fact, sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem. The most common cause is a misaligned lower spine. When a misaligned disk or some other obstruction puts pressure on the sciatic nerve it causes inflammation, numbness and pain. Other causes of sciatica include faulty pelvic alignment, a herniated disk, arthritis, tumor or diabetes.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The sciatic nerve branches out and down from either side of the spine into the buttock and leg. When it's pinched, blood isn't allowed to flow freely throughout the length of the nerve, and nerve receptors misfire, sending a variety of uncomfortable sensations down the line. Sciatica pain is typically felt on only one side of the body because the disk usually pinches only one of the branching nerves. However, in some cases the pain is felt in both legs.
Sciatica pain can be mild or so excruciating it's debilitating. The sensations are described as sharp, shooting, burning or like an electrical shock going down the leg. Tingling, numbness or muscle weakness might also be experienced. A sudden movement such as standing, lifting, bending or even an unexpected sneeze or cough can trigger pain. Many sufferers experience sciatica pain all the way into the foot and toes on the affected side.
Treating sciatica means treating its cause. In some cases a misaligned or even herniated disk can be resolved with rest, exercise and pain medication. But when lifestyle changes aren’t enough to relieve the sciatica pain, other treatment options need to be explored. Chiropractic care is an effective and non-invasive method for treating the cause and relieving the acute or chronic pain.
Too often patients suffer needlessly waiting for symptoms to resolve before calling a chiropractor. At Dewald Healthcare we encourage patients to call anytime they’re experiencing pain. After careful examination we can decide together if chiropractic care can help. In most cases a simple adjustment will correct the misalignment and relieve the blockage that caused the pinching on the sciatic nerve.
In addition to manipulation, our chiropractors may recommend ultrasound, massage therapy or ice therapy to treat sciatica.
Anyone can suffer from sciatica; however, there are some risk factors to be aware of. Aging puts the spine at greater risk for all types of changes, including bone spurs and herniated disks which are major causes of sciatic nerve pain. Obesity and diabetes are medically related risk factors. Certain lifestyle habits such as prolonged sitting or occupations that require long hours in a motor vehicle, heavy lifting or repetitive twisting at the back also put you at risk.
Contact Dewald Healthcare if you have questions about or think you may be suffering from sciatica. Don’t continue to suffer in silence, learn more about how chiropractic care can help by calling our office today.