Have you been told you have sciatica? Sciatica is a condition that affects the sciatic nerve, which is one of the longest nerves in the human body. It spans from the lower back into the feet, and any compression or injury along the nerve can result in symptoms of sciatica. The good news is that our chiropractor in Hoover, AL treats the causes of sciatica in order to reduce your symptoms and provide you with long-lasting relief.
Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica is most commonly caused by bulging or herniated discs in the back that put pressure on the sciatic nerve. This can lead to lower back pain and pain that radiates into the legs, making it difficult to stand or walk for long periods of time. You may also have symptoms of sciatica if you have include misalignments of the vertebrae in the lower back or bone spurs. Additional causes of sciatica include:
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal that can put pressure on the sciatic nerve
- Spondylolisthesis – a condition where one vertebra slips forward over another vertebra, usually caused by hairline fractures
- Nerve Damage – commonly occurs due to uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes
- Piriformis syndrome – characterized by extremely tight buttock muscles
Factors that May Increase Your Risk of Developing Sciatica
Sciatica doesn’t typically have a genetic component. Instead, it’s due to certain lifestyle factors and age-related conditions. In fact, age-related conditions, like degenerative disc disease, which can lead to herniated discs, is the most common reason for sciatica symptoms. Individuals are more likely to develop sciatica if they have a manual labor job that requires a lot of lifting or twisting while working. Being overweight can also increase your risk of developing sciatica, especially if you have diabetes.
Chiropractic Treatments for Sciatica
If you have sciatica, especially if your sciatica symptoms are being caused by a herniated disc, you may have been told that you need back surgery to correct it. The good news is that chiropractic care may be able to help you and reduce or completely eliminate your need for surgery. Chiropractic care utilizes techniques and treatments that are non-invasive and designed to treat the causes of your back and leg pain rather than the symptoms. Treatments that our chiropractor in Hoover uses for sciatic nerve pain include chiropractic adjustments, cryotherapy, acupuncture and diet and exercise.
Chiropractic adjustments involve pushing the vertebrae back into their proper positions if they are slightly misaligned. These can be manual chiropractic adjustments, using our chiropractor’s hands and forearms, or they can be instrument adjustments that utilize a special hand-held device that delivers the correction. This is effective for sciatica pain that is caused by herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis.
Cryotherapy involves using cold, either delivered by a cold pack or ice to treat sudden flare-ups of your symptoms. This can help reduce pain and inflammation and is sometimes used in conjunction with heat therapy to help relax muscles and improve blood flow to the area.
Acupuncture is extremely effective at alleviating back pain. This treatment is semi-invasive because it involves the placement of needles into the skin. It is believed to work by helping your body release endorphins and by increasing circulation around the needles. Acupuncture sessions typically last 20 to 40 minutes and can be used in conjunction with other treatment options in order to decrease your recovery time and reduce your pain.
Diet and Training
If you are overweight and/or have weak core muscles, diet, cardio and strengthening exercises with our chiropractor may be able to help you. Sticking to a high-nutrient diet at the recommended calorie counts for your activity levels can help ensure that your body receives the proper amount of nutrients while you heal, and it can help you lose weight, which reduces the amount of stress put on your lower back. Strengthening exercises and cardio can help rebuild the muscles in your core so that your back is properly supported by your muscles. Our chiropractor offers these services by themselves or as part of a comprehensive treatment package. To schedule an initial consultation for your sciatica symptoms, give our chiropractor in Hoover, AL at call at 205-637-1363.