Sciatica: pain that radiates down one or both of your legs from your lower back. It happens when you get too much pressure on your sciatic nerve, and becomes more common after you turn 40 – though it can happen even to young children.
Maybe you’ve been suffering from some lower back or leg pain yourself and think you could have sciatica. Perhaps you’ve seen commercials on TV for medications that offer relief for sciatica pain.
Before you start looking into those medications, though, you should learn whether or not you actually have sciatica – and then see what other options are out there.
Do I Have Sciatica or Not?
People suffering from sciatica tend to feel:
- Constant pain throughout one sciatic nerve – it’s very rare for conditions to affect both sciatic nerves and both legs/sides of the buttocks. This pain may even reach your feet and toes, but is very rarely felt just in those areas. This pain may also be infrequent.
- Pain that intensifies when sitting down, or when you are trying to stand up and walk.
- Burning, tingling, or searing sensations instead of a dull ache. You may also experience weakness or numbness.
Because sciatica is a symptom of a larger problem, if you want long-lasting treatment that prevents future flare-ups you have to address that condition first. The following conditions are known to potentially result in sciatica pain:
Lumbar herniated disc: A lumbar (lower back) disc becomes herniated when the disc itself leaks out its place between the vertebrae and puts pressure on nearby nerves.
Degenerative disc disease: If your discs start to degenerate or shrink, the result is less space and cushioning between the bones. This causes more contact between the vertebrae, which can be painful.
Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition where a vertebra is pushed forward and replaces the vertebra below it.
Spinal stenosis: This condition is often a result of general wear-and-tear. Spinal stenosis causes the area around the spine to narrow, putting more pressure on the spine. This is something that can happen anywhere along the spine, but stenosis of the lower back, where our sciatic nerves are located, can cause weakness, numbness, or intense pain.
Treatment Options for Sciatica Pain
If you are experiencing sciatica pain, you have more options available to you than simply popping pills. You may benefit from medication in the short-term, but it will only alleviate the problem – not resolve it.
We recommend making an appointment with a chiropractor so you can get to the root of your symptoms. From there, you can discuss the different chiropractic treatment options available that are designed to not only lessen your sciatica pain, but also benefit your whole spine and back.
Some of these options may include:
Physical Therapy: One of the worst things that you can do if you have sciatica pain is sit around and wait for it to heal. Inactivity slows the rate of healing, which means you will actually be dealing with your pain for longer.
In many cases, physical therapy appointments will be recommended to keep you active and speed up the healing process. Moreover, you will be undergoing a therapeutic routine designed to make your back stronger to prevent future instances of sciatica pain.
Chiropractic Adjustments: Many of the above conditions associated with sciatica pain have one thing in common: something is out of place in your spine. Chiropractors give patients slight adjustments to make sure each part of the spine goes back to its proper place.
When the spine is aligned properly, pressure is taken off of the surrounding nerves and blood, oxygen, and other fluids can flow efficiently throughout the spine and to the rest of the body.
Disc Decompression: When pressure is put on discs between the vertebrae, they can degenerate or move, which causes more pressure and pain in the vertebrae. Many chiropractors offer disc or spinal decompression treatments.
These treatments allow chiropractors to increase the space between the vertebrae so that discs can function and sit properly in their place along the spine. Spinal decompression is offered as a surgery, but many chiropractors offer non-surgical decompression treatments.
If You Are Suffering from Sciatica, Learn Your Options
As you can see from the above, sciatica pain is the result of a number of different conditions. Some of these are curable. Some are not. All however, are treatable.
Don’t let intense pain in your back and legs stop you from walking, running, or staying active: call a knowledgeable Florida chiropractor today.
About the Author:
Dr. Marc Browner is the Founder of iChiropractic and Wellness in Naples, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida in 1991, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic in 1995. In private practice since 1998, Dr. Browner is a member of the Florida Chiropractic Society, the Florida Chiropractic Association, and he attends continuing education seminars, classes, and workshops to remain abreast of the most current treatment methods and technological advances in the field.