Have you ever had that searing, nagging pain that starts on one side of your low back, travels down your butt and down the back of your leg? Does it seem like no matter what position you are in, whether you are sitting, standing or lying down, you cannot get comfortable or get rid of the discomfort and pain? This is often due to a condition called sciatica.
Sciatica is one of the most common issues we see at Trinity Chiropractic. In fact, there is an estimated 3 million U.S. cases per year (1.) Sciatica can be incredibly painful and truly interferes with a person’s daily activities and ability to do the things they love to do. Often people will try to “wait it out,” but it tends to return and does not respond well to medication. Pain killers and anti-inflammatories just mask the problem and do not address the underlying issue. People oftentimes just to try to live with the pain and discomfort.
What is Sciatica, and what causes it?
Sciatica is the pain caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body. You have two sciatic nerves, one on each side. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower lumbar spine, through the buttocks, down the back of the thigh and calf all the way to the bottom of your foot and ending at your big toe. You can experience symptoms at any point along this nerve. Sciatic nerve pain can involve a dull discomfort, numbness, tingling or a very intense pain that can feel like throbbing, stabbing or an electrical shock sensation. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Sciatica is most commonly due to a spinal misalignment (known as a subluxation), bulging discs, herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, a bone spur on the spine, and pregnancy (1, 2). As we get older, it is more common to have age-related changes to the spine which can result in sciatica. Other risk factors include obesity, prolonged sitting, diabetes, smoking, wearing high heels, sleeping on a mattress that is too soft or too firm, and having a sedentary job or lifestyle (1).
What Can You Do To Prevent Sciatica?
There are many things you can do to proactively prevent sciatica. Make sure you exercise regularly to keep your back muscles and core muscles strong. In addition, maintaining proper posture when you sit is incredibly important, especially if you have a job that involves prolonged sitting. Choose an office chair that gives you low back support or roll up a towel or use a small pillow at the small of your back to help maintain proper posture while sitting. Your chair should be at a 90-degree angle where your knees and hips are level. Using proper body mechanics when you are lifting is also important. When lifting heavy objects try to have someone help you. Lift using the strength of your legs rather than the strength of your back. You want to avoid lifting and twisting at the same time. Proper nutrition, exercising and avoiding smoking will also help maintain your health. Choosing a proper mattress is also important.
Can Chiropractic Help Sciatica?
Chiropractic can be very effective in treating sciatica. Our gentle and specific adjusting technique helps correct any spinal misalignments that may be causing the irritation to the nerve. We offer the newest technique available in chiropractic, called Torque Release Technique (TRT). This gentle and specific, neurologically based technique does not involve any twisting or popping that is commonly associated with chiropractic adjustments. This technique uses the only FDA approved instrument to correct a spinal misalignment. In addition, we offer our Back on Trac spinal decompression table which helps relieve the pressure on the discs, joints and nerves in your low back. We also offer the K-Laser, which is a Class IV therapeutic deep tissue laser which can help decrease your pain and inflammation in your low back. We also work on the surrounding structures around your spine with our spinal and postural rehabilitation program to help create a long-term solution rather than a temporary patch on your pain.
You don’t have to live with the pain. Give chiropractic care a try. We are excited to help you get back to doing the things you love to do!