Sciatica refers to back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. When this nerve is injured or pressure is put on it, it can cause pain in the lower back that radiates to the hip, buttocks, and one or both legs.
Sciatica is characterized by pain in the lower back that radiates down one or both legs. The pain is described as dull, achy, sharp, pins and needles, or similar to electric shocks. Other symptoms associated with sciatica include burning, numbness, and tingling sensations. Sciatic nerve pain varies in intensity from mild to severe, and frequency may range from occasional to constant. The onset is generally gradual and not necessarily associated with a precipitating event. Sciatica is also known as radiating or referred pain, neuropathy, or neuralgia.
Sciatica is usually caused by sciatic nerve compression. The nerve compression can happen for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are: lumbar spine subluxation (misaligned vertebrae), herniated or bulging discs, pregnancy and childbirth, and tumors, as well as non-spinal disorders; such as, diabetes, constipation, or sitting on one’s back pocket wallet.
Hoffman Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center regularly treats sciatica and are extremely knowledgeable in this area. Since there are many disorders that cause sciatica, Hoffman Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center will determine what is the root cause of your sciatica by taking a thorough patient history, physical and neurological exam. In some instances, diagnostic testing might be necessary; such as, an x-ray, MRI, CT scan and/or electrodiagnostic test (electromyography). These examinations and tests help to detect possible contraindications to spinal adjustments and other chiropractic therapies.
Our care at Hoffman Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center is non-invasive (non-surgical) and drug-free. The purpose of chiropractic treatment is to help the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It is based on the principle that restricted spinal movement leads to pain and reduced function and performance. The type of chiropractic therapy depends on Hoffman Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center’s evaluation during your initial visit. A sciatic treatment plan may include several different chiropractic modalities listed below:
– Ice/Cold Therapies: An ice pack may be applied to the lower back for 15 minutes every few hours to help reduce associated muscle pain, muscle spasm and sciatic nerve inflammation. It is important to wrap a thin towel around the ice pack to avoid putting the cold pack directly on the skin.
– Ultrasound: a gentle heat created by sound waves that penetrates deep into tissues. Ultrasound increases circulation and helps to reduce muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness and pain.
– TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): a small box-like, battery- powered, portable muscle stimulation machine. It offers variable intensities of electrical current to control acute pain and reduce muscle spasms. The larger versions of the TENS units are used by chiropractors, physical therapists and other rehab professionals.
– Spinal adjustments (spinal manipulation): Spinal adjustments free restricted movement of the spine and help restore misaligned vertebrae to their proper position. Adjustments also help reduce nerve irritability responsible for causing inflammation, muscle spasms, pain and other symptoms related to sciatica. Spinal manipulation is proven to be safe, effective and pain-free. This type of therapy sets chiropractors apart in the medical community.
– Stretching/exercise: It is beneficial to gently stretch the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles to help assist optimal biomechanical functioning to the trunk and legs.Walking and riding a stationary bike are gentle exercises that will similarly assist in the recovery process.
The best care for sciatic pain is to schedule regular chiropractic appointments at Hoffman Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center. This allows us to better detect and correct any spinal dysfunction that may be a source of the sciatic pain. Call our office today to start living pain-free.