Your body is a complex network of nerves that travel from the tips of your toes and fingers to your brain and back again. Each is an information highway that sends signals to your brain, allowing you to feel and react to temperature changes, pain, pleasure, etc., and control movement. When one or more nerves are compressed, pinched, damaged, or blocked, a part of your body may experience sensation loss, often called “falling asleep”.
The most common form of this is when your foot falls asleep due to a prolonged episode of sitting. When you go to stand, you experience numbness, tingling, and the feeling of pins and needles as the nerves in your foot try to recover. However, for those suffering from sciatica…that feeling often doesn’t go away and often radiates from the lower back, through the hip, and into the side or back of one or both legs.
What is Sciatica?
The clinical definition of sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy; lumbar is the lower part of the back/spine; radiculopathy is a range of symptoms caused by the pinching of a nerve in the spinal column.
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body and has both motor (movement) and sensory (sensation) fibers. It begins in your lower spine and then exits and splits into nerve branches that run through your hips, buttocks, legs, and feet allowing you to walk, run, and even stand. It is also responsible for you being able to feel and sense touch in your lower extremities.
Sciatica is a term used to describe a set of symptoms caused by nerve pain that begins in the hip and deep in the buttocks and travels down one or both legs. It is a very common symptom that affects 10% to 40% of the population, typically around the age of 40 years1, and can be caused by underlying medical conditions which can include:
- A Herniated Lumbar Disc - Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk and refers to when a disc located between your vertebrae bulges or is ruptured. At times caused by injury such as lifting a heavy object incorrectly, sudden twisting of the spine, etc.
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - The narrowing of one or more spaces within your spine leaving little room for nerves to function correctly and/or causing pinched nerves
- Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease - General degenerative changes in vertebrae or discs
- Spondylolisthesis - A condition where one of your vertebrae slips out of place onto the vertebra below it hereby pinching or compressing a nerve
- Muscle Spasm and/or Inflammation - Spasms or inflammation causing pressure to be placed on the sciatic nerve
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction - A condition in which pain is caused by the sacroiliac joint that connects the sacrum (tailbone) and the pelvis
- Osteoarthritic Bone Spurs - Bony projections that develop along bone edges and compress nerves
What is the risk of developing sciatica?
Although sciatica can be caused by a multitude of different conditions including injury, your risk of developing sciatica and the severity of symptoms may be increased by the following:
- Frequent heavy lifting
- Prolonged sitting
- Improper posture
- Sedentary lifestyle
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
The symptoms of sciatica can vary greatly in severity from person to person and may range from infrequent and irritating to severe and debilitating. Usually, affecting only one leg at a time, the symptoms radiate from the lower back or buttocks to the thigh and down the leg and can include:
- Pain - A burning sensation or a sharp, shooting pain often felt more in the leg than in the back that can be constant or intermittent
- Altered Sensations - Similar to the sensation of your foot falling asleep, you may experience numbness, tingling, and/or a pins-and-needles sensation within the leg and/or foot
- Weakness - Weakness may be experienced in the leg and/or foot.
- Heaviness - A feeling of heaviness in the affected leg may make it difficult to lift the foot off the floor, walk and move from a sitting to a standing position
Sciatica symptoms are often lessened or worsened by movement and position of the body such as bending, lying down, standing for long periods of time, and/or sitting. A proper diagnosis and treatment by an experienced chiropractor here at Spine Stop Chiropractic, can help those experiencing symptoms get back to their normal activities faster with less pain and more mobility.
How can chiropractic care help me?
Chronic pain caused by sciatica, though very common, shouldn’t be tolerated. Chiropractic care works to relieve the pain caused by sciatica and can improve your overall wellness naturally. Using non-invasive, safe, and gentle treatments, our doctors work to discover the root cause of your sciatica pain through spinal adjustments that allow the body to return to its normal alignment.
Normal alignment of the spine, hips, nerves, etc., allows the connections and signals of the body to flow freely thereby reducing compression and inflammation, and allowing the body to heal naturally.
Chiropractic Benefits for Sciatica Include:
- Reduction of pain
- Decreased inflammation
- Reduced pressure on the sciatic nerve
- Reduction in muscles spasms
- Improved range of motion
- Improved nervous system function
Since every patient is different, our doctors work with you to better understand what you do on a day-to-day basis to uncover what may be causing your sciatic pain and to offer personlized solutions to get you back on track to an active lifestyle.
If you or a loved one are suffering from sciatica, book an appointment today to see how our doctors can help restore your quality of life.
We understand that not everyone is familiar with chiropractic care, so all new patients receive a consultation, examination and if necessary, an x-ray. Then our doctors will review your condition and walk you through an easy-to-follow treatment plan that’s unique to you.
There’s no pressure when you visit our office. Our friendly staff want to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.
- Davis D, Vasudevan A. Sciatica. [Updated 2019 Feb 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.
The information on this page is intended for informational purposes only. We put this page together to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of the benefits of chiropractic care. This page is not meant to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.