Chiropractic Care for Sciatica – Pain Down Back of Leg
Many people ask where the sciatic nerve is in the context of the body. The sciatic nerve is a very large nerve that travels from the lower back, through your hips and buttocks, and down the back of both legs. Its origin is from the spine at the levels of L4-S3. Sciatica pain usually occurs when a herniated disc or bone spur on the spine compresses the sciatic nerve. This compression leads to inflammation and pain and often numbness that travels down the length of at least one leg. The pain can vary anywhere from a sharp and burning sensation to a jolt or even numbness without any pain symptoms. It is often only experienced on one side of the body.
Sciatica Risk Factors
The risk factors of sciatica ¹ can include age, which is usually the cause of bone spurs or herniated discs in those who are aging. Obesity is also a risk factor that causes compression of the spine that can lead to a pinched sciatic nerve. Your occupation is also another way that sciatic pain may be occur. If the job requires strenuous movement and heavy lifting, it may cause an increased risk of a disc herniation or even muscle spasm of the piriformis muscle which can cause piriformis syndrome. Sciatic pain can also occur from an injury, most often it involves a car accident or serious sports injury. In these situations, it is often treatable and not permanent in nature.
How to Prevent Sciatica
Many people try and live healthy lives and eat healthy in order to keep their body in tip-top shape. Exercising regularly is a wonderful way to keep your muscles and ligaments flexible and healthy. Keeping your body limber ensures you won’t pull a muscle or cause damage to your sciatic nerve. Staying healthy also keeps you fit and trim, which prevents extra strain and discomfort to your body, and especially your back. One of the most important things you can do is a routine of core strengthening exercises, on a regular basis. Keeping proper posture and using your lower extremities to help do the work when heavy lifting also helps prevent damage to your back and to the sciatic nerve.
In the majority of patients suffering from sciatica, doctors will perform a series of tests to determine the possible source of the sciatic pain. They will look at X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, and electromyography (EMG) studies to determine the cause of the problem. They may find bone spurs, spine compression, disc herniations, or nerve compression due to other reasons with these tests. They can then recommend typical therapy including muscle relaxers, pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and even medications such as gabapentin to decrease the nerve pain. The only problem with these medications is that they only treat the symptoms and they do not get to the source of the problem.
Chiropractic Care for Sciatica
Chiropractic care can be the answer to many of the causes of sciatica ². From degenerated discs (DJD), disc bulges, disc herniations, piriformis syndrome and other causes of pressure and compression of the sciatic nerve; there are many things we, as chiropractors can do to help. Dr Baldrich will perform orthopedic and neurological tests, and check ranges of motion and tone of muscles, to determine the cause of the problem. If needed, x-rays or an MRI will be ordered (note- MRI not usually ordered on the first day unless there are unusual circumstances). A treatment plan will be developed and chiropractic treatments will begin. Chiropractic care can help the root of the problem and not mask the symptoms with drugs that may cause dependency.
Dr Astrid Baldrich, is a chiropractic physician in Bristol, Connecticut (fluent in Spanish).
To make an appointment, call now at 860-583-4346 or fill in the talk to a specialist form below.