It is likely you’ve heard the word “sciatica”, but do you know what sciatica really is?
Typical symptoms of sciatica include a burning or shooting sensation that seems to come from the lower back, shooting into the gluteal muscles or down the leg. The pain can reach the toes in some cases, and will change your gait and make movement fairly miserable. These symptoms can be pretty scary, and most individuals that experience this pain aren’t sure who to turn to for help.
Sciatica refers to pain, tingling, numbness, or burning down the leg, and is caused by compression to the sciatic nerve. This is the major nerve that leaves the lower back and travels to the big toe. Sciatica is actually just a symptom, and is not a medical condition of it’s own.
Sciatica can be caused by a number of things:
A disc injury: Bulging or herniation of a disc in the lower back can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Piriformis syndrome: One of the most common reasons I see sciatica in my office. The piriformis muscle lies close to the sciatic nerve (deep in the gluteal muscles), and when it gets tight, spasmed or inflamed it may put pressure on the sciatic nerve. I see this more often in individuals that spend a good amount of time in the car or sit for long periods of time during the day.
Pelvic misalignment: The sciatic nerve passes through the pelvic cavity, and can become compressed when the mobility of the pelvis or sacrum is compromised. It is common for me to see this in combination with piriformis syndrome.
Spinal stenosis: This is much less commonly seen in my office, and generally affects older individuals with a history of arthritic changes.
So, how do you know what is causing your sciatica symptoms?
An examination with a chiropractor will be a great start, as we evaluate the movement in the muscular and spinal components in the lower back and pelvis. Orthopedic tests help to determine the cause of your symptoms, and many times treatment can begin immediately. Even if your sciatica is caused by a disc injury, chiropractic care is an excellent treatment.
In our office, we utilize a combination of manual adjustments, active release, and at home exercises to treat sciatica. Most patients begin feeling relief after a couple of visits, with a typical treatment plan to treat sciatica between 8-12 visits.
Questions about sciatica?
Call our Tempe chiropractic office for a consultation: 480-440-4511
DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only, and does not take the place of an evaluation. For proper medical advice, see your chiropractic physician or medical doctor before determining what type of self care works for you.
Dr. Bobbie Bennett works with patients of all ages and walks of life. She enjoys helping her patients find freedom from pain and gain increased mobility so they can live their life without limitations.