If you or a loved one suffer from sciatica, then you’re familiar with the sudden flare-ups and debilitating pain. It’s common too. In fact, an article from Harvard Medical School says, “As many as 40% of people will get it during their life, and it becomes more frequent as you age.”
Sciatica is also often misunderstood. Many times it’s lumped in generically with other back pain even though it’s not the same thing. However, since sciatic pain is often in the lower back, its sometimes treated as degenerative disc disease or other common back pain causes.
Common Causes and Symptoms of Sciatica
You’re probably familiar with the sciatic nerve. It’s the longest nerve in the body which means it is easily irritated. The sciatic nerve runs from the top of your spine to your feet. These are common causes:
- Muscle spasms
- Lumbar spinal stenosis – the lumbar is the lower part of the back and spinal stenosis is when it narrows more than it should.
- Spondylolisthesis – when discs stack onto another
- Even pregnancy
It often strikes people who are overweight and sedentary, but not always. I’ve known young yoga teachers to suffer from sciatica. Overall, it’s generally caused by nerve compression.
The Symptoms of Sciatica
Just as the causes are varied, so are the symptoms and it’s very individual. You might feel:
- Tingling in the legs
- Throbbing pain
For some, it’s a mild annoyance while for others, it’s debilitating. It can last for years, come and go without notice, or disappear after a period of acute pain.
It’s important to be checked by a medical professional. That way you’ll be treating the right issue. As a chiropractor, we conduct a thorough physical and medical history including an x-ray right in our Doylestown, PA office.
We’ll prescribe a treatment plan once we’ve assessed that it is sciatica.
Can Chiropractic Therapy for Sciatica Help?
As you may know, many people find their sciatic pain will go away on its own – sometimes within a few hours. But for others, it can drag on and keep reappearing.
Fortunately, many patients find sciatic pain relief through chiropractic care. The entire purpose of chiropractic care is to offer an effective natural solution for our patients.
We also recommend hot and cold therapy to reduce inflammation and spinal adjustments.
Other natural pain relief treatment options include:
Ultrasound – this warm heat is gentle and goes deep into the tissues to help muscles relax.
TENS machine– (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) – We use this in our Doylestown office to help relieve pain. You’re hooked up to a machine that sends electrical currents throughout your body—concentrating on the painful area. It can be as gentle as you like or more like a deep tissue massage. However, it’s up to you.
There are smaller home units available too.
Chiropractic massage – A good massage therapist can help loosen muscles and improve blood flow throughout your body. Improved blood flow can reduce inflammation which will relieve the pain.
Low impact exercise – Walking, gentle yoga, daily back stretches, swimming, and other low impact exercises will improve your mobility while also improving blood flow. They also strengthen the back muscles which help support the lumbar spine.
As you can see, there are many ways chiropractic therapy can help sciatica. If you’re suffering from sciatic pain or any back pain, give us a call or come in. We’d like to help you feel better!