Is Chiropractic Good for Sciatica?
If you’re a person bothered by sciatica, you’ll know just how distressing the pain can be. It might start in your lower back, and shoot down through your buttocks, all the way to your lower legs, ankles, and feet. And in the process, it can disrupt your daily activities and a significant part of your lifestyle. Taking painkillers sometimes helps relieve pain, but once the meds wear off, you may be right back where you started and need more relief and have to take more pills. There’s a better way to approach managing your sciatica, and that’s through corrective care chiropractic. So the answer to the question posed by the title of this article is – yes, chiropractic care is very beneficial for sciatica.
What exactly is sciatica?
The largest nerve in the entire human body is the sciatic nerve. It extends from the lower back down to the backside of your legs. Sciatica is the name given to the sharp discomfort/pain, numbness, and tingling or loss of strength created by this nerve being stressed or compressed. Anyone who has been bothered by sciatica will recognize it by the following symptoms:
- a tingling sensation or numbness in the backside of the legs
- a burning sensation, often in one leg or in the buttocks
- pain which might be either dull or very sharp that travels down into your leg
- all of the above symptoms, radiating down into the toes
The most common cause of sciatica is herniated discs. Other causes such as hypertonic muscles, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, are also possible. Misaligned vertebrae or poor posture in the lower back can also trigger sciatic such as pregnancy, extended sitting, slouching. When our posture changes, our spine loads in different ways which can put stress, tension, and compression on our nerves if it is abnormal.
Potential treatments for sciatica
Surgery is one possible solution for recurring sciatica. But, physicians will generally recommend non-surgical solutions first and reserve surgery as a last resort option. Physical therapy can be an effective way to strengthen the muscles of the back and the legs, which may help alleviate the condition to some extent. If the therapy helps resolve the compression situation or relieves pressure on the nerve, the therapy can be very effective. Exercises which help to strengthen the muscles along the sciatic nerve route can be helpful, provided that you don’t incur significant pain by doing the exercises.
Hot and cold treatments can sometimes provide relief since ice will reduce inflammation, and heat will speed more healing agents to an affected area. Ultrasound therapy is effective in some cases since it can produce sound waves that penetrate deep into muscles and nerves and help to relax them. The use of electrical nerve stimulation has also enjoyed some success since it can also relieve pressure or compression on nerves and muscles.
Chiropractic care, however, is probably the most effective treatment and getting to the root cause. The adjustment of a misaligned vertebra or spinal structure relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve more often than any other approach. Many times chiropractors will combine distraction/decompression therapy to take pressure off the nerve. By reducing nerve irritability and spasm frequency, it reduces pain and discomfort that is commonly associated with a sciatica flare-up.
If you are struggling with sciatica pain give us a call at Thrive Family Chiropractic in Rapid City, SD to schedule an appointment. Come see how we can help you get relief from sciatica pain.