At a basic level, the sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body and is composed of individual nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back then through each leg, to combine and form the "sciatic nerve." The possibility of experiencing sciatic pain increase in middle age and declines after the age of 50, very rarely does it occur to people under 20 years of age. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the back of each leg. Sciatic pain will occur when the sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched and will typically affect just one leg and very rarely felt in both legs.
Pain will originate in the lower back or buttocks and continue along the nerve which is down the back of the thigh and into the calf and foot. Sciatic pain can vary depending on severity and location as well as the underlying condition causing the pain. Conditions such as a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and diabetes, just to name a few can cause sciatic pain. Although sciatic pain can be painful and at time debiliting, it is not common for permanent nerve damage to take place, often people get better within a few weeks or months. Many people successfully find pain relief with non-surgical, drug free treatments such as Chiropractic Care. The purpose of chiropractic treatment is to optimize the body's ability to heal itself.
A chiropractor's first step is to understand what has caused the patient's sciatica, since there can be many causes. To diagnosis sciatica, the doctor must do thorough review of the patient's medical history, including a physical as well as a neurological examination. Testing can also include an x-ray, MRI, CT scan etc. These examinations help to detect the root of the problem. Scientific evidence shows that restricted spinal movement can lead to pain as well as reduced function and performance. Chiropractic care is truly non-surgical and drug-free, which many patients prefer.
In 2010 a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that sixty percent of people with sciatic pain who tried alternative methods prior to spinal manipulation, experienced the same type of pain relief as patients who eventually tried surgery to correct the issue. Test subjects saw a chiropractor 3 times a week for 4 weeks and then once a week until pain subsided, subjects in this study reported pain relief which lasted up to a year after the last visit. "Spinal manipulation may create a response in the nervous system that relieves pain and restores normal mobility to the injured area," says study researcher Gordon McMorland, DC, of National Spine Care in Calgary, Alberta. "It also reduces inflammation, creating an environment that promotes the body's natural healing mechanisms."
The type of Chiropractic care provided will be dependant on the cause of the patients sciatica. A treatment plan can include multiple types of treatment such as, Spinal adjustments, Cold Laser therapies, Accupuncture, and Vibration. At the core of Chiropractic care, Spinal adjustments frees restricted movement of the spine and helps to re-align vertebres to their proper position in the spine. Ongoing spinal adjustments will help to reduce nerve irritability which causes inflammation, muscle spasm, pain, and other sciatica symptoms.
In addition to regular Chiropractic visits, below are some additional tips which may provide relief to sciatic pain and lower back pain:
-Try not to sleep on your stomach.
-Sleep on a firm mattress on your side or back with knees bent.
-Sleep with a pillow under or between your knees.
-Apply heat or cold to the affected area.
-Sit in chairs that have firm back support with proper posture and keep feet flat on the ground
-Try not to sit for extended periods of time, take a stretch every now and then