Approximately 10 percent of adults in the United States are dealing with sciatica. Sciatica is a shooting pain that starts in the lower back and then travels down the back of the leg. Most sufferers are between the ages of 25 and 45. Sciatica pain can be so severe that it prevents mobility, makes it difficult for people to go to work, and makes it almost impossible to enjoy their everyday lives.
Traditional treatments for sciatica include invasive therapies and medications. However, some chiropractors have been able to provide relief using various techniques to address this common condition.
Sciatica is pain that travels along the sciatic nerve. Your sciatic nerve starts at your lower back and runs through your hips and buttocks as it travels down your leg. Typically, sciatica only affects one side of your body.
In most cases, sciatica occurs if there is a bone spur, narrowing of the spine, or a herniated disc. These conditions put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing inflammation, numbness, and pain that can affect the legs and foot.
The pain associated with sciatica is severe. In most cases, though, it will go away without using surgery in just a few weeks. If your sciatica leads to significant leg weakness or changes in your bowel or bladder function, you may be a candidate for surgery.
Risk factors for sciatica include the following.
• Age. As you age, your spine goes through changes, such as bone spurs and herniated discs, that are common causes of sciatica.
• Obesity. The more you weigh, the more stress is put on your spine. Being overweight can lead to spinal changes that trigger sciatica.
• Occupation. Jobs that require you to carry heavy loads, drive a vehicle for extended amounts of time, or perform a lot of twisting may increase your chances of sciatica.
• Prolonged sitting. If your job requires you to sit for prolonged amounts of time or if your lifestyle is sedentary, you are more likely to develop sciatica than active people.
• Diabetes. Diabetes affects the way that your body uses sugar. This leads to an increased risk of nerve damage, including damage to the sciatic nerve.
<h3>How Do Chiropractors Provide Relief for Sciatic Pain Sufferers?</h3>
Chiropractic treatment is effective in helping people with sciatica. Chiropractors can use a combination of treatments and education to help the body heal itself. Chiropractic care is non-invasive and does not require medications. This makes it the perfect choice for many sciatic sufferers. There are several treatments chiropractors may use or recommend for patients. A chiropractor may recommend that chiropractic adjustments or therapies be used independently or with other therapies.
Adjustments, including spinal manipulation, are at the heart of chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic adjustments can realign the spine, freeing restricted movement and helping the body get back to its proper alignment. With chiropractic treatments, your body functions better and more efficiently. This can lead to a reduction of nerve inflammation, especially the nerves associated with sciatica.
Ultrasound produces mild heat through soundwaves. The soundwaves are at a frequency that humans cannot hear, penetrating deep into body tissues. When used by chiropractors, ultrasound therapy can stimulate circulation, leading to a reduction in muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness, and pain. These are all symptoms that are produced by sciatica.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as TENS, is a therapy designed to stimulate muscles. Electrical currents are applied with varying intensity to control pain and minimize muscle spasms during treatment. Some chiropractors will use larger versions of these devices in their offices, but they may also use smaller portable units for convenience.
In addition to the treatments mentioned above, chiropractors may show patients exercises and make nutritional recommendations for sciatica treatment. The suggestions and treatments offered will vary based on how sciatica affects the patient, the severity of pain the patient is experiencing, and their lifestyle and habits.
Chiropractors may use a combination of techniques to treat sciatica. Since the patient’s sciatica experience varies, the chiropractor will talk with the patient to understand their daily routine to identify sciatic pain triggers. From there, a treatment plan will be devised to attack the problem from the patient’s perspective to provide the most effective treatment.
You do not have to suffer sciatic pain alone. Our pain management professionals stand ready to help you get back to living the life you enjoyed before sciatica was your reality. Are you ready to live pain-free? Call us today at 205-637-1363.