Sciatica is one of the most common neuromusculoskeletal disorders. In this blog post, we take a closer look at what sciatica is, its symptoms and how chiropractic care can provide relief.
What is the sciatic nerve?
The sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and runs over your buttocks, down your thighs and into your feet. It allows you to feel sensations, such as stepping down on something sharp, and helps you move your legs.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve — the longest nerve in your entire body — is compressed or injured. Some of the most common causes of sciatica include bone spurs, herniated discs, pregnancy and car accidents.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica include:
As the condition gets worse, you might also experience difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels.
Who is at risk of experiencing sciatica?
Sciatica affects people of all ages and genders, but several factors may increase your risk, including being overweight, smoking and having diabetes. You’re also more likely to experience sciatica if you work a physically demanding job that requires you to lift heavy objects, sit for extended periods or perform twisting movements.
How is sciatica diagnosed?
If you’re concerned about sciatica, make an appointment with your doctor of chiropractic. During your appointment, your doctor of chiropractic (DC). During your appointment, your DC reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms, including when they first started, their severity and if any activities, like exercising or sitting down, make them worse. Next, your DC has you do a series of easy stretches and strengthening exercises. These activities test your flexibility, muscle strength and range of motion.
If a physical exam and tests aren’t enough to make a diagnosis, your DC might order diagnostic imaging, like X-rays or an MRI. These procedures capture detailed photos of your hard and soft tissues and make it easy for your DC to rule out underlying conditions like fractures, bone spurs or a herniated disc.
How does chiropractic care treat sciatica?
Chiropractic care treats sciatica by using manual modalities, like massage or traction therapy, to align your musculoskeletal structure and restore your body to balance. Your DC can also make recommendations to improve your posture. If an underlying condition, such as excess weight, exacerbates your symptoms, your DC can provide dietary counseling, as well as recommendations for vitamins and nutritional supplements. When combined, these treatments can ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
If you’re living with sciatica and have been unable to find relief, make an appointment with a doctor of chiropractic. Using a drug-free, non-invasive approach to treatment, they can help you feel better.