Sciatica is a painful condition which arises as a result of wear-and-tear of structures located in the lower spinal region and not due to injury. The sciatic nerve runs from the hip down the buttocks, and down both legs. It is one of the widest and longest nerves in the body and is responsible for controlling the muscles of the legs, soles of both feet, and for providing sensation to both thighs. This condition occurs frequently in people between the ages of 30 to 50.
Symptoms of sciatica
One of the most common symptoms is a pain that radiates from the nerve’s path, usually from the back and down the leg. However symptoms may vary depending on which part of the sciatic nerve is affected. Many people report experiencing a dull pain or a mild tingling on a single side of the body. Other symptoms include a sensation similar to pins and needles in the feet or toes, and muscle weakness or numbness in the foot or leg. Pain arising from sciatica begins slowly and intensifies over time. The pain worsens with prolonged sitting, coughing, sudden movements, and sneezing.
Benefits of chiropractic medicine
Chiropractic medicine assists the body in healing itself. It is based on scientific principles which found that restricted movements of the spine leads to reduced performance, function, and later pain. When treating sciatica, chiropractic medicine uses non-invasive and drug-free practices.
The chiropractic therapy used to treat sciatica depends on the individual’s condition. It may include a variety of therapies. These are:
- Cold/ice therapy
It reduces the inflammation and controls pain that results from this condition.
Sound waves are used to create gentle heat which penetrates into deep tissues. This helps to increase circulation and reduces cramping, muscle spasms, pain, stiffness, and swelling.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
This is a portable, muscle-stimulating machine that is battery-powered. It uses variable electrical current intensities to reduce muscle spasms and acute pain.
- Spinal Manipulations or Adjustments
This technique is at the center of chiropractic care. It involves manipulating the spine so that it frees it from restricted movement. It can help to restore proper position to misaligned vertebras. This technique also reduces muscle spasms, nerve irritability, and pain.
- Exercises/ergonomics/body mechanics
Exercises focus on stretching and strengthening muscles in order to relieve pain and strengthen the spine.
Ergonomics will focus on supporting and preventing pain. This may include sitting on a specialized chair at the office.
Body mechanics deals with how the body moves in response to something. The chiropractor may teach the patient how to perform certain tasks with minimal pain and tension to the sciatic nerve.
Other treatments recommended by chiropractic medicine:
The following techniques can improve the health of your spine and protect it from injury:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Consuming a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Quit smoking
- Avoid bed rest and prolonged inactivity
- Use proper body mechanics to lift objects
Before seeking chiropractic care to treat your sciatica, speak to your general practitioner.