Causes, Exercises & Treatment
If you’ve suffered or are currently experiencing sciatic pain then you’ll understand how frustrating it can be. Sciatica is the term used to describe a problem affecting the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve begins in the lower spinal cord and travels through the lower back, down each buttock into both legs and finally stops in the feet. Symptoms of Sciatica can be felt anywhere along the nerve. Sciatica rarely begins after one single event but usually develops over time. There are many warning signs that you may require sciatica treatment which include pain that is single sided in the buttock or leg, pain is worse when sitting, sharp, burning or shooting discomfort, tingling, numbness or weakness is present and if you have difficulty walking.
Causes Of Sciatica
Sciatica may be caused by any of the following issues including lumbar disc bulge/herniation, spinal arthritis and degeneration, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, myofascial dysfunction, sacroiliac joint dysfunction. While these are not the only causes that require specific sciatica treatment, these are the most common encountered in Chiropractic practice.
Conservative Sciatica Treatment
Depending upon the exact cause of your Sciatica, there are numerous techniques which may be used to assist reducing pain, improving general function as well as enhancing mobility and lower back strength. Some of these techniques are discussed below.
- Spinal manipulation involves ‘adjusting’ joints of the spine which are not moving properly. These joints may be causing Sciatic nerve pressure and therefore contributing to your symptoms or simply affecting your general movement and flexibility.
- Lumbar traction (flexion-distraction therapy) is a particularly effective sciatica relief technique especially for cases of lumbar disc bulge/herniation. Traction is extremely gentle and involves applying a gentle stretch on the joints of the lower back to increase disc spacing and relieve disc pressure.
- Massage is often important to assist with reducing muscle tension, tightness and reducing overall sciatica pain.
- Exercise such as stretches and active muscle releasing techniques help improve posture, reduce muscle tightness and in turn improve sciatic nerve symptoms.
Chiropractor Sciatica Research
- Patients suffering lumbar disc herniation managed via Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy demonstrated clinically significant improvements. Leemann, S et al. (2014). Outcomes of acute and chronic patients with magnetic resonance imaging – confirmed symptomatic lumbar disc herniations receiving high velocity-low amplitude spinal manipulative therapy: A prospective observational cohort study with one year follow up. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 37 (3); 155 – 163
- Chiropractic appears to be an effective sciatica treatment method. Assendelft, W et al. (1992). The efficacy of Chiropractic manipulation for back pain: Blinded review of relevant randomized clinical trials. Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics, 15(8); 487 – 494