Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, causing pain to radiate from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It starts at the lower portion of the spinal cord, passes deep in the buttocks, runs down the back of the thigh before dividing above the knee joint.
Sciatica can be caused by several things. It can be from stress, depression or negative emotions which deprive the nerves of oxygen leading to pain, weakness or tingling. Carrying extra weight or bad posture can pull and irritate the sciatic nerve. A herniated disc or a vertebra being misaligned can also irritate the nerve as well as a spinal tumor.
It is important that you get a proper diagnosis from a doctor that treats sciatica regularly. Some health providers who don’t regularly treat back and nerve complaints incorrectly call all pain that radiates into the leg, sciatica. This leads to a mis-diagnosis and a delay in the proper treatment and pain relief.
After the cause of the sciatica is determined, then the correct treatment can begin. The majority of the cases respond well to chiropractic spinal manipulation, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. A few of the cases will need to be co managed by a medical doctor.
The purpose of the spinal manipulation is to move the vertebrae or pelvis so that they allow the muscles to relax and remove the irritation to the nerve. It is important to know which vertebrae specifically needs to be adjusted. It is also important to know which vertebrae should be left alone.
Certain types of physical therapy work better for sciatica than others. It is important to know when to perform passive therapies and when active therapies or exercises should be included. Ice and heat are 2 types of therapy to be used, but it is important to know when to use each. Typically, if you can point to a specific area that hurts or is painful you will use ice for 20 minutes. If a large region is achy, but not painful, you will use heat for 20 minutes.
Lifestyle changes would include things like what position you sleep in, is your chair straight up or leaning slightly back, how you lift objects and others.
If the sciatica does not show a reduction in pain by at least 50% in 2 weeks, then ordering an MRI or a referral for medication from a medical doctor would be appropriate.
Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at www.BeecherChiropractic.com or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!