Most people think sciatica is a disorder but the truth is sciatica is the symptom of nerve compression that can be caused by numerous health problems or conditions including, but not limited to, piriformis syndrome, misaligned vertebra, spinal problems, pregnancy and bulging discs. When the sciatic nerve is compressed, people experience pain that originates in their lower back and travels into one or both of the legs. The pain varies in frequency but also in intensity. Some people experience numbness, burning or a tingling sensation while others suffer from sharp pain similar to electric shock or the sensation of pins and needles.
A chiropractor can treat and even cure sciatica but the first step is identifying the cause of the patient’s problem. After reviewing the medical history of the patient, determining the cause of sciatica and doing a physical and neurological examination, the chiropractor can recommend different treatments for sciatic symptoms. Diagnosing the main cause of sciatica means a variety of tests and examinations, such as MRIs, CT scans and x-rays. These examinations are mandatory before starting a chiropractic treatment for sciatic pain because it allows chiropractors to know if there are any contraindications to chiropractic therapies.
Chiropractor Treatment For Sciatica
The recommended chiropractic treatment depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica and it can include ice/cold therapy, TENS, ultrasound, adjustments or a combination of these techniques. The purpose of the chiropractic treatment for sciatica is to help the body to heal itself by removing the spinal movement restrictions.
Ice/cold therapy it is a great chiropractic treatment that reduces inflammation and helps alleviate the pain.
Ultrasound is another chiropractic treatment that reduces sciatic pain but it also helps to reduce cramping, muscle spasm, stiffness and swelling. Ultrasound is a type of therapy based on sound waves that penetrate the tissue. Ultrasound is not painful, the patient will experience gentle heat.
TENS means transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and it is used by chiropractors, rehab professionals and physical therapists to treat various nerve problems including nerve compression. TENS unit is a battery-powered stimulating machine that uses low-voltage electrical current to reduce muscle spasms and pain. This type of chiropractic therapy is recommended for patients who experience acute sciatic pain.
Spinal adjustment or spinal manipulation is the core of chiropractic practice and it involves the manipulation of the spine to move the misaligned vertebral bones into their correct position. Spinal adjustments are safe and effective and are not as painful as most people think. When the vertebral bones are re-aligned, patients will feel better instantly and they will experience less pain, muscle spasms and other symptoms associated with sciatica.
The spinal adjustment techniques are complex and allow chiropractors to treat different types of problems, such as subluxations, nerve compression and other bone related conditions.
Limitations Of Chiropractic Therapies In Treating Sciatica
Some disorders and conditions that cause sciatica should be treated by other doctors or require a combination of therapies to make the patient feel better. If the problem that causes your sciatic nerve pain goes beyond the scope of chiropractic training, you will be referred to a doctor from another specialty.