Chiropractic Care For Sciatica

What is Sciatica?

This refers to inflammation of  the sciatic nerve and it can cause significant pain in the lower back and down your leg. The nerve starts in the lower back and runs through the buttock and
down the leg to the foot. It provides nerve impulses for all the skin of the leg, as well as the muscles at the back of the thigh and of the calf and foot.

The symptoms of sciatica can range from leg pain that may be severe, to tingling and numbness, to muscle weakness in the leg. The pain and symptoms are not always localized and can be felt in the lower back or buttock area or anywhere throughout the leg or foot. Usually, sciatica only affects one side of the body, but it can lead to difficulty walking or lifting your leg.

Causes of Sciatica

While many think of sciatica as a diagnosis, it is actually a symptom of another underlying problem. There are four common causes of sciatica, which are:

1. Disc injury: in this case, the sciatica is caused by a bulging or herniated disc.

2. Spinal stenosis: This is caused by a narrowing of the spinal column or the bony canal where the sciatic nerve passes through. Spinal stenosis is a chronic condition that results from degenerative arthritis that may occur with age.

3. Lumbar facet syndrome: This results from a sprain or athritis of the facet joints that connect the vertebrae together. Either inflammation or bone spurs compress the sciatic nerve.

4. Misalignment & muscle spasm: A combination of muscle spasm, misalignment of your spine, and
inflammation can result in narrowing of the space where the nerve passes between the vertebrae, resulting in pain down the leg.

Before treatment can begin, it is important that the underlying cause of the sciatic symptoms is diagnosed. In order to determine if the pain is caused by the sciatic nerve, and why it is being caused, chiropractors will take the time to evaluate the entire spine, hips and leg that is symptomatic. In this way, not only will the correct symptoms be treated, but further damage by incorrect treatment will be
avoided.

Treatment is dependent on what is causing the sciatic symptoms, and because different parts of the body are the root cause of the pain and inflammation, chiropractors approach each diagnosis
differently. During your initial visit with a chiropractor, joint range and motion, potential disc injury, muscle spasm and ligament injury will all be tested. Also, your overall posture will be evaluated. All of these tests will point out what is causing your pain.

Treating Sciatica with Chiropractic Care

Once the cause of your symptoms has been determined, Dr. Weitz will recommend a treatment plan. This plan will be determined by the root cause of the condition and can involve spinal manipulation, manual therapy of soft tissues, like muscles and ligaments, and therapies to reduce the inflammation, such as interferential current or ultrasound or cold laser.

Spinal manipulation is used to improve joint motion and return soft tissues back to a healthy state.   Manual therapy involves applying pressure to muscles in spasm to release the tension and also stretching and resistance exercises. Finally, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser, and/or ice may be used to reduce inflammation of the area.

Whether your sciatic symptoms are caused by mechanical damage or nerve-related damage, working with a chiropractor is sure to reduce, if not remove entirely, your discomfort, so you should be able to get back to your daily life activities, such as golf, tennis, or walking your dog.

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