What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the name used for any pain or discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve. It is not a medical diagnosis but rather a symptom of an underlying problem linked to the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica is a symptom commonly referred to in the modern age because the type of pain is quite distinctive. It is often described as a shooting, searing pain that is felt deep in the lower back or buttock and radiates down the back of the leg. The nature of this pain can vary from person to person. Numbness, tingling or burning can be felt along the area of the nerve. Some people describe it as ‘electric-like’, others as more of a ‘dull pain’ and the symptom can be constant, or come and go.
Some people with sciatic like symptoms have had a major trauma such as a car accident that has caused this abnormal pressure on the nerve. Others will have had minor traumas and the pressure will have built up over time. Both of these are equally common, and need to be looked into further.
The term sciatica is often misused; people may be tempted to self-diagnose and self-treat their sciatica. However, knowing the underlying cause of your sciatic symptoms is crucial in order to get the right solutions for the right problem.
What should I do to relieve my Sciatica?
Some people suffering from sciatica often experience it again and again throughout their life because they have never got to the root of the problem. Certain exercises or stretches can seem to ease the pain, but for long term relief, the spine needs to be examined.
A healthcare professional who specializes in the spine, such as a Chiropractor will be able to determine the best course of action for you. They will start with an initial consultation, and if necessary take x-rays so they can see what is going on more clearly. Many people who suffer from sciatica also have issues in other parts of their spine, such as their neck, so it is important they assess you from top to toe. Once the assessment is complete, they will bring you back to explain your findings and recommend the best care plan.
Many people with sciatica present to us with a spine similar to that shown below.
Image 1: A healthy spine with equally
spaced vertebrae. The nerves
Image 2: The vertebra circled are too
close together, this causes pressure on
The spine on the right belongs to a person who presented with very little mobility in the lower back, where the vertebrae have been circled. The muscles around the lower back had also become tight in order to protect the area. They had suffered from sciatica on and off for ten years before they visited a Chiropractor for the first time.
Chiropractic Adjustments are very successful in providing both short and long term relief. Adjustments, aim to increase the mobility of the joints, which takes the pressure off the nerves, allowing the normal function to be restored. With sciatica, this is a very effective way to target the issue because the sciatic nerve is being directly affected. When the affected nerves no longer have abnormal pressure, the pain is relieved. The muscles around that area are also able to relax, reducing any accompanying muscle pain or spasm. For the majority of people, results are felt very quickly, however, if you have had pain for some time, and/or your lower spine has poor mobility, it may take longer. This is because more adjustments are needed to increase mobility to those specific joints, and retain the position. In these cases, it’s even more important to tackle the root of the problem, because other symptoms are likely to occur alongside.
Our modern lifestyles tend to be unkind to our spines, so pressure on the nerves can build up again if we don’t address the actions causing this stress on the lower back. Your Chiropractor will be able to advise on how your work and/or hobbies may influence your problems. It is also recommended to keep an active lifestyle, take breaks between sitting down, and have regular adjustments by your Chiropractor to maintain the mobility of your spine and prevent the nerves from being compromised again. If you have any problems between adjustments, come in and get checked, just like you would a tooth problem between dental appointments.
ROCK Chiropractic Testimonial
“I've been suffering from lower back pain for 25 years. Then by chance, I came across Rock. I was a bit skeptical at first but I went along out of curiosity to see what they had to say. Having the results of the x-rays, showed me exactly what the problem was. Dr Sari and the team have quite literally straightened me out. I feel taller and straighter, all the time. After 3 each relaxing session, I feel calm and happy knowing that my back health has dramatically improved.”