Sciatica is the pain along the sciatic nerve, which is in your lower back and runs through your buttock, down the back of your leg and into each foot. This nerve is responsible for sending signals to your muscles in your lower body, and the pain can feel like a sharp or dull ache that travels from your lower back down either leg. The pain can sometimes be unbearable, and action must be taken to reduce it as soon as possible. One of the effective ways to help you with your sciatica is chiropractic adjustment. This kind of treatment is primarily used as a pain relief alternative, and it can help relieve pressure on your nerve.

man with sciatica

Where Does the Sciatic Nerve Come from?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, originating from the lumbar spine and extending down the leg. It carries pain signals to your brain, which is why it is often referred to as “the trailing rope of agony.”

The sciatic nerve gets its name from its location as it travels through a space called “sacral plexus,” which is located on either side of your spine. This can be compressed by a herniated disc (a bulging disc), causing irritation and inflammation of adjacent tissues that eventually lead to sciatica symptoms like tingling, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs, or even pain deep within them.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is a symptom of a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve. When there is an irritated nerve anywhere along this path, it can cause pain in different areas of the body. The location and severity of symptoms vary widely among individuals who have sciatica because there are many different causes and presentations possible within this diagnosis category, which means there is no one-size-fits-all approach when treating this condition.

As it was mentioned before, the symptoms vary from person to person but typically when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated due to injury or other causes such as arthritis or a herniated disc, it can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in your lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet. In some cases, people may even experience muscle weakness. All these issues can happen when there is inflammation or swelling within tissues around the spine, such as muscle spasms, muscle tightness, tears in ligaments supporting joints (tendons) or when the person is suffering from spinal problems. Here, we have listed the most common causes of sciatica:

  1. Herniated Disc: A herniated or slipped disc occurs when the soft inner portion of a spinal disc protrudes out through the outer layer and presses against the nearby nerves, including the sciatic nerve.
  2. Spinal Stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can put pressure on the nerves, including the sciatic nerve.
  3. Degenerative Disc Disease: This occurs when the spinal discs begin to wear down and lose their cushioning ability, leading to compression of the nerves.
  4. Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when one vertebra slips out of alignment with the one below it, causing pressure on the nerves.
  5. Piriformis Syndrome: This condition occurs when the piriformis muscle, which runs from the sacrum to the hip joint, becomes tight or spasms and compresses the sciatic nerve.
  6. Trauma: Injuries such as a car accident or a fall can damage the spine and lead to sciatic nerve pain.
  7. Tumors: Tumors that grow along the spine can compress the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and other symptoms.
  8. Pregnancy: As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and other symptoms.

It is important to note that sciatica can have multiple causes, and it is often necessary to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms.

woman with sciatica

What are Proximal, Distal, and Central Referral Symptoms?

Proximal refers to the lower back, where the nerve originates.

Distal refers to the leg muscles, which are supplied by the sciatic nerve.

Central refers to a pain that radiates into your groin and buttocks.

How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?

When you see your chiropractor / doctor, they will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may also do a physical exam to look for signs of other causes of pain, such as arthritis or disc problems.

The diagnosis of sciatica is made when all other possible causes for leg pain have been ruled out by the doctor’s physical examination and diagnostic tests (X-rays).

How Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?

Chiropractic can help relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve by gently shifting misaligned bones in your spine. It works by restoring proper alignment to joints in order to allow better circulation throughout your body which increases healing potential for injuries like sciatica.

A chiropractor can help treat sciatica by assessing whether there are any underlying causes contributing towards it. The chiropractor will use their hands or an instrument called a spinal adjuster, to apply a controlled force that moves your vertebrae into the position they should be in for optimal health. Soft tissue massage therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation (TENS), and cold laser therapy are other techniques used by them to reduce inflammation around the affected area and improve range of motion and flexibility in those same areas. They may also recommend lifestyle changes such as ergonomic modifications at work and exercises to strengthen abdominal muscles as well as providing manual therapy techniques such as spinal manipulation (also known as spinal adjustment).

Chiropractic adjustments are safer than surgery and many other treatments for sciatica because there is no cutting involved and no risk of infection or blood. It is safe, natural and drug-free, and it helps restore proper joint function by removing interference in the nervous system that may be contributing to your pain symptoms. Chiropractors are trained to assess your individual needs and determine what type of chiropractic treatment will be the most beneficial for you.

Chiropractic care can be used as a complement to other treatments such as medication or physical therapy if needed. If you have been suffering from sciatica for some time, it may take some time before you notice significant improvement, but many patients report feeling better after just two visits!

chiropractic helps sciatica

Could My Pain Be Caused by Something Else?

If you are experiencing sciatica, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your pain could be caused by something else that requires treatment.

A herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica, but there are many other conditions that can lead to similar symptoms. These include:

  • Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis;
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal);
  • Tumors in your spine;
  • And infections such as Lyme disease and syphilis

Suffering from Sciatica? Consider Seeing a Chiropractor!

If you suffer from sciatica, consider seeing a professional chiropractor, who is trained to help with this condition and many other musculoskeletal conditions, to receive the care you deserve!