Fact or Bluff? Can A Chiropractor Treat Sciatica? Find the Answer Here!
What Is A Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is commonly associated with the buttocks, but it actually originates in your lower back. It starts as a large cluster of nerves at the base of your spine known as your lumbosacral trunk. From there, the sciatic nerve branches out to each side of your hips and into both legs.
Each branch of your sciatic nerve travels down the back of each leg, all the way to your feet. It controls muscles in the lower legs and provides sensation in much of the skin on the outsides of both legs.
These branches also control your ankle and foot movements such as flexing and pointing your toes, so you can imagine how pain and other issues in this nerve could affect your gait.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed, pinched, or irritated.
It can happen anywhere along its route—from your lower back to your hips to the backs of your legs and even down to your feet. But irritation at any point along this path can cause pain in different areas depending on which part of the nerve is affected.
What Causes Sciatica?
The foramen is a hole that provides an opening for different structures to pass through something, i.e Sciatic nerve roots pass through Sciatic foramen to get from the pelvis to the lower limb. The sciatic foramen is a hole between the L5 vertebra and Sacrum.
In some cases, Sciatica appears because of certain other diseases or conditions, which affect the Sciatic nerve or Sciatic Foramen it includes:
- disc herniation
- spinal stenosis
- osteoarthritis of the spine
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Lyme diseases
- tumors at any point along its course from Pelvis to the foot.
The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disk in the lower back that pinches your nerve. Since your spine has natural curves, it's possible for the soft, gel-like center of an intervertebral disk to push through its surrounding, harder exterior, and press against your sciatic nerve.
Even if the disk doesn't rupture, it can still irritate your sciatic nerve by putting pressure on it or causing inflammation.
Small tears in the discs of your spine are common and happen as you age. When this happens, part of the discs' soft material leaks out and presses against nearby nerves. This is called a herniated disk, and it can cause sciatica.
People who sit or stand for long periods of time while they work are more likely to have a herniated intervertebral disk because the spinal disks get squeezed when you use your back muscles to support your body's weight.
However, there are many other issues that can cause an injury or irritation to your sciatic nerve.
There are numerous activities that are associated with sciatica, including prolonged sitting, back pain, obesity, pregnancy, arthritis, and sports injuries. Over time if the condition is not treated it could eventually lead to numbness in the feet and legs as well as muscle weakness.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica?
The main symptom of sciatica is pain. It will usually be felt on just one side of your body but can affect both legs to some degree.
Pain may start in the lower back, then travel down the buttock and into the leg below the knee. It may also extend to the back of your leg and foot, causing numbness or weakness.
Other symptoms include tingling, burning, stabbing pain, muscle spasms, pins and needles in the legs, and difficulty moving or controlling your muscles. Since your sciatic nerve also controls bowel function, you may also suffer from constipation or diarrhea. Sciatica usually begins gradually, then the pain becomes more severe over time. The severity of the pain varies depending on which component of the sciatic nerve is affected.
If your problem is caused by an injury, you may only experience pain right after it happens. Once your wound heals, though, you might still feel tingling or pins and needles in your leg and foot.
If your problem is caused by a medical condition such as a herniated disk or spinal stenosis, you may experience lasting pain that gets worse over time. You'll also likely have other symptoms besides just leg pain, such as neck and upper back pain and weakness in the legs.
Why Does Sciatica Cause Numbness In The Legs And Feet?
When your sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated, you might feel pain in the buttocks and down the backs of your legs. You may even have numbness or weakness in these areas. This happens when parts of your legs are not receiving enough blood flow because the nerves that control them are being pressed on by nearby structures. This lack of blood flow can cause tissue damage and lead to permanent nerve damage, which is why it's important to seek treatment for sciatica right away.
Symptoms of a herniated disk may first appear when you are bending over or lifting something heavy. Standing up straight may make your pain worse, but sitting down or leaning to the side often helps relieve pressure on your back.
As mentioned before, if you have a herniated disk, it's common for the pain to travel down one leg only, but both legs may be affected sometimes.
Leg weakness and loss of tendon reflexes are signs that the compression of your nerve is more severe. If this happens, you may be unable to walk or even stand.
Sitting or standing for long periods of time makes the condition worse because your back muscles are contracted and squeezing on your spine, which irritates your sciatic nerve.
Who Are At Risk of Sciatica?
Sciatica can affect anyone, but it most commonly affects young and middle-aged adults. Women are slightly more likely than men to be affected by the condition. You can also get sciatica from obesity or a sedentary lifestyle because they put excess pressure on your back and can cause disk problems.
However, there are certain things that can also put you at a higher risk of sciatica, including spending long periods sitting down, lifting heavy objects incorrectly, or having an accident that injures your back.
When To Seek Medical Help?
As we mentioned before, sciatica is a medical condition that needs to be treated by a trained physician. In most cases, all you need to do is take some simple steps at home and your symptoms will go away in a few days. If the pain doesn't go away or if it gets worse, this could be a sign of something more serious.
If you can't walk on your own, can't move or feel tingling in your legs or feet, or can't control the muscles in your buttock and leg then you may have a more serious problem. This is why it's always best to seek help from an expert, say a chiropractor if your symptoms don't improve.
Can A Chiropractor Treat Sciatica?
The most important thing to remember about sciatica is that it can be incredibly painful and can even cause permanent damage if it's not treated quickly.
Sciatic pain can feel intense when you first start experiencing symptoms, but they can become more tolerable when your body adjusts to them. You can help ease the pain by taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, keeping the affected area warm with hot water bottles and ice packs, and doing gentle stretching exercises.
Can a chiropractor treat sciatica? The answer is yes, this is by realigning your spine so that the nerve can pass through your body without being pinched. They can also help speed up the healing process so you can get back to doing the things you love sooner.
Many people don't seek treatment because they're not sure if can a chiropractor treat sciatica and do not know of their options, but chiropractors often have years of experience in treating all sorts of chronic pain conditions just like sciatica.
How Chiropractors Treat Sciatica?
Many people can suffer for years with sciatic pain, not knowing that it can be treated by a chiropractic adjustment. Many people see their family doctor or general practitioner first but are often frustrated when they can't get any relief from the prescribed drugs.
A chiropractor like Dr. Zachary Langgle of Prime Health + Wellness in Downers Grove, IL, can help you determine the location of your sciatica and recommend an appropriate course of treatment, which can include the following:
- Chiropractic adjustments can be effective in reducing the pressure on your sciatic nerve and can help to reduce inflammation.
- Introducing a healthy lifestyle can go a long way towards relieving pain, such as performing regular stretches and exercising. Getting adequate rest can also be beneficial.
- Physical therapy to help strengthen your back muscles can also relieve some of the pressure on your spine.
- Ultrasound therapy can be used in combination with physical therapy to accelerate healing in certain cases.
What Are The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care for Sciatica?
Chiropractic care is effective in treating this condition because chiropractors can identify the root cause of the problem. Prime Health + Wellness in Downers Grove, IL, can also provide long-term relief from pain and can help speed up recovery time.
The combination of treatments can give you all-around relief from chronic back problems and can help ensure your spine can heal properly. Dr. Zachary Langgle can also work with you to come up with a personalized treatment plan that can help you get your life back on track.
If you’re suffering from sciatica and want to get back on your feet as soon as possible, contact Dr. Zachary Langgle to know the answer. He can help diagnose the problem and provide a treatment plan that is tailored for your unique needs. At Prime Health + Wellness in Downers Grove, IL, chiropractic treatments are gentle but effective in relieving pain caused by nerve impingement or inflammation due to injury, illness, pregnancy, childbirth, or stress. For more information and schedules visit our website at www.phwchiro.com or call (630) 729-7024 today!