Sciatica and Chiropractic

What is Sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest of all the body’s nerves. It runs from the spinal column near the pelvis down each leg and can be as wide as your thumb. The sciatic nerve controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg and also provides feeling to the back of your thigh, sole of your foot and part of your lower leg. Each sciatic nerve is made up of five smaller nerves that branch into the thigh, knee, calf, ankle and foot. When this nerve becomes inflamed it creates a condition, which we call sciatica. Sciatica is characterized by pain, numbness and weakness in the lower extremities. Commonly pain and numbness are located at the calf, foot or back of the thigh and shooting pain down the leg all the way to the toes, which often causes sensations of burning, cramping, tingling, numbness and depending of the level of acuteness, degrees of pain ranging from an aching nuisance to throbbing to extreme and overt pain and is usually on only one side of the body. (Acute sciatica is said to be one the worst pain that a human has to endure).

What causes Sciatica?

Sciatica can be caused by many different things, but occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed, irritated or inflamed. Which sometimes can be traced back to a certain event, such as a car accident. But also years of bad posture, poor muscle tone, excess weight and countless other causes can set the stage for Sciatica. Standing, sitting, walking, running, heavy lifting, bending, twisting, or even sneezing can then bring on symptoms.

Chiropractic and Sciatica

Whenever pain relief is discussed- whether for sciatica or any other injury, it is important to distinguish between just relieving the pain and actually treating the cause of the pain. Most short-term pain relief is just that… short-term. If the underlying cause of the sciatica is not corrected the pain will inevitably return.

Doctors of Chiropractic offer drug-free and non-invasive care to address sciatica. The Chiropractic approach to sciatica is to help restore the way your spine works, reducing nerve irritation therefore revitalizing your body’s own healing ability.

Chiropractic theory states that in order for the body to be optimized for health, the neurological pathways must remain open and unrestricted.

Quite often people with sciatica wait until the pain becomes unbearable before they contact their chiropractor. Waiting can cause long-term damage, it is important to contact your Chiropractic when the pain originally begins.

Cox, J. & Shreiner, S. (1984) Chiropractic manipulation in low back pain and sciatica: statistical data on the diagnosis, treatment and response of 576 consecutive cases. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 7(1), 1-11.

Santilli, V., Beghi, E., & Finucci, S. (2006) Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. The spine journal: Official journal of the North American Spine society, 6(2).