Do you have pain that shoots down the back of your leg? Does this pain interfere with your daily activities? If so, you may be suffering from sciatica. Sciatica is not just any leg pain; it comes from irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It begins in your low back and travels through your buttock region and straight down the back of your leg to your foot. When this nerve is irritated, it can cause searing pain, often described as a lightning bolt or a red-hot poker, to shoot down the back of your leg. This condition, known as sciatica, can cause difficulties with sitting, standing, walking, and sleep, just to name a few.
Sciatica typically results from misalignment and/or disc bulging in the lower lumbar spine. This puts pressure on the delicate nerves that your spine is designed to protect. If left untreated, this can worsen and eventually cause permanent damage to the nerves, so it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Many people turn to drugs and surgery when trying to treat their sciatica, both of which can have significant side effects. NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, have a lengthy list of side effects including, but not limited to allergic reactions, stomach and bowel bleeding, liver and kidney damage, as well as increased risk of heart disease. Cortisone injections can cause elevated blood sugar, weakening of tendons, loss of cartilage, and infection, to name a few. Complications of spine surgery include bleeding, infection, nerve damage, paralysis, and even death.
When seeking help with sciatica it is best to begin with conservative treatment. Chiropractic is a safe and effective approach. Chiropractic care seeks to address the underlying causes of sciatica by improving the motion and position of the involved spinal bones, known as vertebrae. This helps to relieve pressure on the nerve and decreasing pain. If disc bulging is contributing to your sciatica, addressing spinal alignment and function may also decrease disc pressure on the nerve. The chiropractor may use other procedures, such as spinal decompression, to help take disc pressure off the nerve as well. Other treatments may include deep tissue therapeutic laser to help decrease tissue swelling and spinal rehabilitation to help strengthen muscles to improve stability of the spine.
When looking for a chiropractor to treat your sciatica, it is important to choose one who has experience treating this condition and has the resources available to implement various modalities address your unique needs.
[Dr. David Iszler owns and operates Trinity Chiropractic in Glendale, AZ. He has over 28 years of experience providing quality chiropractic care.]