Chiropractic Care For Sciatica
Sciatica is a common condition that affects up to 40 percent of people. In the United States, it affects approximately 1 in 10 adults. This condition is most prevalent in people between the ages of 25 and 45. Sciatica is characterized by a shooting pain that originates in the lower back and travels down through the hip, buttock and back of the leg. The pain can be so severe that it inhibits mobility and can prevent people from working, taking care of their home, or just enjoying their life. Traditionally, doctors have treated the condition with medications and some invasive therapies, but chiropractic care for sciatica has been found to be extremely effective in alleviating the pain and curing the condition.
Most cases of mild sciatica heal on their own. However, when sciatica doesn’t resolve on its own, it can lead to chronic pain and muscle weakness. Medical treatment options generally include:
- pain medications
- lifestyle adjustments
- physical therapy
- surgery, in severe cases
Some people with sciatica seek treatment outside traditional medical care. Chiropractic care is a popular natural treatment for sciatica. It can relieve pain without medication and is generally considered a safe treatment option.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a back pain that is triggered when your sciatic nerve becomes pinched. Your sciatic nerve travels from your lower back, past your hips, and down each leg. Sciatica pain can occur anywhere along this path and is often felt throughout the entire length.
Sciatica is a condition that affects the lower back, specifically pain that travels along the sciatic nerve path. This path originates in the lower back and extends down each side of the hip, buttocks, and down the leg to the feet. Usually, only one side is affected during a case of sciatica.
Sciatica commonly occurs when there is a spinal condition, such as a bone spur on the spine, a herniated disk, or when a condition like spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine) compresses the nerve. The result is pain, inflammation, numbness, and stiffness in the leg that is affected.
While sciatica pain can be severe, the condition is often resolved in a matter of weeks without surgical intervention. Some doctors may suggest surgery if the patient experiences extreme weakness in the leg or has problems with their bowel or bladder.
Usually, doctors will prescribe medication to treat the pain and relax the muscles that surround the sciatic path to provide the patient with some relief.
Most people only experience sciatica on one side of their body. The pain can be mild or severe. The pain can be felt as an electric shock or as deep aching pain. It can also cause your affected leg and foot to feel numb or weak.
The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disk in your spine that presses on the sciatic nerve. It can also occur when a bone spur presses on the nerve or when your spine is narrowed and puts pressure on the nerve.
Sciatica often resolves on its own. When it doesn’t, then you should seek medical attention. Left untreated, some cases of sciatica can lead to permanent damage to your sciatica nerve. This could cause you to lose feeling in your affected leg or even lose control of your bowel and bladder.
How Chiropractic Treatment Helps With Sciatica
Chiropractic care for sciatica has been shown to be very effective in treating sciatica by helping the body heal itself. It’s non-invasive and doesn’t use medications, making it an optimal choice for many patients.
There are various treatments that a chiropractor may use or recommend. They may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies.
- Ultrasound– A very mild heat that is created by sound waves at a frequency that is beyond human hearing providing deep tissue penetration. This therapy stimulates circulation and aids in reducing muscle spasms, pain, swelling, stiffness, and cramping.
- Adjustments– Spinal manipulation, or adjustments, is the core of chiropractic treatment for sciatica. It helps to realign the spine, freeing restricted movement and helps bring the body back into its proper alignment so that it functions better and more effectively. It also helps to reduce the pain that is associated with nerve inflammation, particularly that associated with sciatica.
- Ice or Cold Therapy– This therapy helps to reduce and control the pain of sciatica, as well as reduce inflammation.
- TENS– Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a therapy that employs a TENS unit, a small battery-powered, portable box that stimulates the muscles. It uses electrical currents at variable intensities to help control pain and reduce the occurrence of muscle spasms. Some chiropractors and physical therapists use larger versions of this device in their clinics, but many use the portable units because they’re more convenient.
A chiropractor may incorporate exercises and nutritional recommendations into their treatment for sciatica. This often depends on the severity of the condition, the patient’s individual needs, and their lifestyle and habits.
A variety of chiropractic techniques may also be used to treat sciatica. Since every patient is different, the chiropractor will talk with you to better understand what you do on a day-to-day basis and what may be causing your sciatic pain. From there the chiropractor will treat the problem from your perspective, seeking the best, most effective approach.
Chiropractic care for sciatica is considered a holistic healthcare method. This means that it focuses on care for your whole body and not just the specific area of your pain. A chiropractor will ask you about your pain as well as your health history at your first appointment. This helps them develop a specialized treatment plan for you.
You might also have X-rays taken, so the chiropractor can understand what exactly is causing your pain. For example, an X-ray might show that your spine is narrowed and pinching your sciatic nerve.
Chiropractic care for sciatica involves stretching and applying controlled pressure to your joints. The chiropractor might recommend specific exercises for you to do at home to help with your pain. Some may also provide nutrition and wellness education that can help relieve your symptoms.
You will generally need to see a chiropractor multiple times before you begin to get relief from sciatica.
Other Natural Ways To Help With Sciatica
If you are not sure about chiropractic care but want to treat your sciatica naturally, you have options. You can help ease your sciatica pain at home in several ways.
Some suggestions for natural relief include:
- Build back strength. You can do low-impact exercises, such as crunches, to help strengthen the muscles in your back and core. Strengthening these muscles will improve spinal support, which can reduce your sciatica symptoms. To avoid the risk of making your pain worse, take it slow and do these exercises carefully.
- Take breaks during your workday. Sitting in the same position for long hours can aggravate sciatica. Try taking a break and changing sitting positions throughout your day. You may find you are in less pain by the end of the day.
- Stretch your hip and hamstring muscles. Tight muscles in your hips and hamstrings put pressure on your lower back. Stretching these muscles helps many people see significant improvement in their sciatica pain.
- Try heat. Hot packs, heating pads, or even warm water in the shower may help reduce your pain.
- Use ice packs. Ice packs can help relieve the pain of sciatica. You can use an ice pack for up to 20 minutes at a time.
- Take up yoga. Yoga can help improve your posture, strength, and flexibility and also provide pain relief. Moreover, you will get the great benefits of exercise and relaxation that come with yoga.
- Consider acupuncture. For some people, acupuncture can be an effective method of controlling pain.
- Get a massage, if possible. A massage can loosen tight muscles and provide significant pain relief.
When To Seek Medical Treatment
Mild cases of sciatica often resolve on their own. When the pain doesn’t resolve quickly, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Contact your doctor if your sciatica pain:
- gets worse every day
- has lasted more than a week
- causes your leg to feel weak or numb
- doesn’t get better with over-the-counter medications or rest
- causes you to experience incontinence
A chiropractor might be able to help relieve sciatica pain. Using spinal manipulation techniques and other natural practices, chiropractors can help relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve.
While there is a need for more research on the effectiveness of chiropractic for sciatica, many people report finding relief after visiting a chiropractor. Chiropractic care is generally considered safe, and there are very few risks to trying this treatment method.
It is also important to know when to seek medical evaluation and care for your sciatica symptoms. If not treated, long-term pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause serious problems like leg numbness and incontinence.
Chiropractic Care For Sciatica
If you or a loved one is suffering from sciatica, please visit or contact Advanced Health Solutions – GA Spine & Disc. We provide high-quality, safe, and effective chiropractic care for sciatica, which is a holistic approach to treating sciatica.
Do suffer alone! Chiropractic care for sciatica can help you get the relief you need. Call us today at (770) 926-9495 or contact us online to book an appointment now.