Sciatica results from problems related to the sciatic nerve. The large nerve begins at the lower back and runs down the back of each leg. When injury or another form of pressure disturbs the nerve, it can cause pain that can spread to the nearby hips, legs, and buttocks. Fortunately, upwards of 90 percent of individuals who suffer from sciatica recovery without the need for surgery. |
Most patients notice sciatica as the result of lower back pain that extends toward the lower extremities. Symptoms may become worse when patients sit or cough. Some patients report that their legs feel numb or tingly. Unlike other back-related problems, sciatica tends to appear abruptly, and the symptoms can last for several days or even weeks. Some patients liken the pain to a bad cramp that lasts for days.
Only a doctor or chiropractor can accurately diagnose sciatica. Some patients mistakenly believe that they have sciatica when they have unrelated back pain. The vast majority of Americans will experience periodic back pain throughout their lives, especially as they grow older. Back pain often results from an injury or disc degeneration. Sciatica is often differentiated by the fact that pain radiates down the leg and toward the foot.
Risk Factors for Sciatica
Sciatica is more common between the ages of 30 and 50. Research has found that women are potentially more likely to develop the problem during pregnancy due to pressure near the sciatic nerve that results from the growing fetus. Patients who have experienced a damaged disc or arthritis are also at a higher risk of developing sciatica. Many sufferers of sciatica also have a herniated disk. Between each vertebrae of the spine is a disk that acts like a cushion. When injured, the disc can push on the roots of the sciatic nerve.
Spinal stenosis results from narrowing of the spinal canal that envelopes the spinal cord. This condition, which is more common in adults over 60, can lead to sciatica. Although rare, tumors can lead to pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Some risk factors for sciatica cannot be avoided, but others can. Try to avoid putting large objects one either side of rear pockets. Doing so can lead to imbalances that could eventually result in sciatica.
There are many potential causes of sciatica. Finding the underlying cause will be a top priority for your chiropractor. Your exam will start with a discussion of your symptoms: intensity and location of pain as well as aggravating factors (triggers). If you can, take careful notes in the days and weeks before visiting your chiropractor. The more information your chiropractor has, the more accurate your diagnosis may be.
A physical exam may include directions to squat, walk, or raise your leg. Your chiropractor will be looking at specific muscles and how they do or do not trigger pain. It is possible for your pain to be caused by something other than sciatica. Either way, your chiropractor will be able to provide treatment options for your symptoms.
Before giving a diagnosis, your chiropractor may ask that you undergo imaging to locate the exact cause of your nerve irritation. An MRI, CT scan, or x-ray can help determine if a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, tumor, or other factor is causing your sciatica.
Treatment Options Your chiropractor will recommend non-invasive treatments. It is not uncommon for multiple treatments to be recommended along with lifestyle changes. Physical therapy can alleviate many symptoms of sciatica.
Recommendations may include: Weight loss Heating pad Ice pack Medications (anti-inflammatory or pain relievers) Steroid injection Stretching
Complementary therapies like acupuncture, yoga, massage, and chiropractic adjustments have all proven to deliver relief from sciatica.
Often, the best treatment is spinal decompression. One of ou chiropractors will place you on a table that includes straps. An advanced computer will complete a personalized program that decompresses the spine for a predetermined period of time (usually 30 to 45 minutes). Spinal decompression comes with a very low risk of complications. Individuals who are severely overweight, pregnant, or experiencing a bone injury are typically not candidates for spinal decompression.
Patients who are in severe pain or who do not respond to treatments may require surgery. If this final option becomes a necessity, your chiropractor will recommend an experienced and trusted surgeon. Patients who undergo surgery will require rehabilitation.
Whether non-invasive or surgical treatments are given, patients can often expect a full recovery from symptoms related to sciatica. Doctors and chiropractors have decades or research into proven treatments for this often painful condition.
Tips for Preventing Sciatica Once you reach your 30s and beyond, taking steps to prevent sciatica can prove useful. If you are in the habit of keeping your wallet in one of your back pockets, try keeping it in your front pocket. Working on posture, exercising, lifting objects carefully, and visiting your chiropractor often can help prevent sciatica. Tobacco use can weaken bones in your spine and increase the risk of disc damage. Proactive exercise is proven to strengthen back muscles and increase bone density. Finally, maintaining optimal back posture can aid in preventing sciatica.
Call Our Office If you live in or around Roanoke, TX, we welcome you to schedule your visit with Dr. Cody Doyle at 817-767-5430. We always seek non-invasive, holistic treatments to improve overall health as well as to treat back pain and conditions like sciatica.
Dr. Cody Doyle Doyle Chiro and Acupuncture 817-767-5430
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