Sciatica affects as many as 40% of people at some point during their lifetimes. The condition can cause severe, chronic back pain and muscle spasms in affected persons and can severely interfere with everyday life. Fortunately, receiving prompt and continued care from a sciatica chiropractor may help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
Understanding Sciatic Pain
Sciatica is a painful, debilitating condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes injured or irritated. The sciatic nerve extends from the lower back down through the buttocks and each leg. Though the sciatic nerve goes through both legs, people with sciatica usually experience pain on only one side of the body (which can impact the hip, buttocks, and/or leg).
If you’re wondering, “can a chiropractor help with sciatic nerve pain?” the answer is usually affirmative. A chiropractor receives specialized training to use spinal manipulation techniques to help relieve some of the pressure on the sciatic nerve. As pressure on the nerve subsides, pain signals from the nerve may diminish.
Sciatica Risk Factors
There are several risk factors for sciatica, including:
Spinal changes naturally occur as a result of aging. Some of these changes (including bone spurs and herniated discs) can lead to the development of sciatica.
Sitting down for prolonged periods can increase your likelihood of developing sciatica. This is because sitting too long can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Additionally, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to poor posture and spinal misalignment, which can potentially inflame and damage the sciatic nerve.
Overweight individuals are more susceptible to sciatica because their spinal columns are over-stressed and prone to injuries.
People with diabetes have a more difficult time managing their blood sugar. Problems with blood sugar can potentially lead to nerve damage.
Pregnant women may have a higher likelihood of developing sciatica due to additional pregnancy weight and strain on the spinal column.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
This condition causes the spinal canal in the lower back to narrow, which can restrict the sciatic nerve.
This condition occurs when one vertebra moves over another vertebra.
Degenerative disc disease
Marked by the breakdown of vertebral discs, degenerative disc disease can increase the likelihood of developing sciatica.
Some studies also suggest a genetic predisposition to sciatica. So, if you have a family history of the condition, you may want to consult with a sciatica doctor. If you have any of the risk factors for sciatica, you may be able to decrease your risk if you see a sciatica chiropractor preventatively.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica is pretty easy to recognize, once you know what symptoms accompany the condition. Here are some of the most common symptoms of sciatica:
- Hip pain
- Lower back pain
- Tingling or burning sensations that extend down all or part of the leg
- Pain in the leg or buttocks that worsens when sitting
- Shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up and/or walk
- Numbness and/or weakness in the leg or foot
Sciatica typically only occurs on one side of the body. But sciatica pain on both sides of the body could also occur. Depending on the severity of the condition and the impact on the nerve, the pain, muscle weakness, and/or tingling sensations could extend all the way down to the toes. Consider scheduling an appointment with Chiropractic Approach if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
How a Sciatica Chiropractor Can Help
If you are experiencing sciatica, it’s important to seek help so you can receive relief from your symptoms. A chiropractor may be able to help minimize your pain by using spinal manipulation, manual therapy, trigger point therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and other techniques to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Your chiropractor may also use heat, acupuncture, and stretching exercises to help relieve lower back pain.
Possible Complications of Sciatica
Allowing sciatica to continue untreated could potentially lead to complications. These complications may include:
- Herniated or slipped disc
- Increasing pain
- Loss of bladder and/or bowel function
- Weakness and/or loss of feeling in the affected leg
- Permanent damage to the nerve
Chiropractic care can relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve to avoid developing these complications and provide pain relief. A chiropractor may be able to help reduce your symptoms by relieving pressure on your sciatic nerve through chiropractic adjustments, spinal manipulation, and other techniques.
Schedule a Consultation with a Sciatica Chiropractor Today
There is no reason to live with the pain of sciatica when there may be steps you and your sciatica doctor can take to relieve your discomfort. Schedule a consultation with a sciatic chiropractor at Chiropractic Approach today to get a personalized treatment recommendation. We accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation and no-fault insurance.