Sciatica is a condition that causes pain along the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back through the hips and on through the buttocks and down through each leg. Usually, an episode of sciatica impacts only one side of the body. It is typically due to spinal stenosis (narrowing spine), a spinal bone spur, or a herniated disk causing pressure on the nerve. The resulting inflammation triggers pain and sometimes numbness in the leg. A sciatica chiropractor can often help with pain relief from this condition.
Sciatica can be very painful, but most people who suffer from this condition experience relief from it within several weeks without surgery. In the most severe cases, people may suffer from extreme weakness of the leg or severe bladder or bowel problems, which may indicate that surgery is appropriate for them.
Pain from sciatica in some area(s) along the nerve may occur. The pain is most likely to run from low on the back to the buttock and then down the back of one thigh and calf. This pain running from the lower lumbar of the spine to the buttock and down the back of one leg is the definitive symptom of sciatica. Descriptions of the pain vary between individuals and may include:
For many people, mild sciatica goes away without medical treatment. However, if the pain continues for more than a week and your self-care efforts are not working, you should see your doctor. If the pain continues worsening, or if you suddenly experience extreme pain in the lower back or leg and weakness or numbness in the leg, you should see a doctor urgently. Or, if you are experiencing difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels, see your doctor.
Sciatica is caused by pinching of the sciatic nerve, most often by a herniated disk in the spine or bone spur (excessive bone growth) on vertebrae. Less commonly, the condition is caused by a nerve that becomes squeezed due to damage from diabetes or another disease or by a tumor.
Various conditions and circumstances can contribute to a person’s general level of risk of developing sciatica.
Individual risk factors for sciatica may include:
No matter how careful someone may be, he or she may not be able to prevent sciatica from occurring or recurring. But, adopting these habits can help protect you from this painful condition:
To determine that a patient is suffering from sciatica, the medical exam will probably involve evaluating reflexes and muscle strength in various areas to determine that patient is suffering from sciatica. The patient will probably be asked to make various simple movements for these assessments. More advanced testing is sometimes necessary and may include one or more of these imaging protocols:
Medical Imaging Tests
If self-care for your sciatica pain does not bring you relief, your chiropractor may provide some of the most effective and least invasive treatments for pain symptoms. Beyond chiropractic care, your family doctor may recommend one or more of these other methods of sciatica treatment:
We are a chiropractic practice in Troy, Michigan. Dr. Lisa Bell & Dr. Jamie Bell have been relieving pain from sciatica and other conditions for our patients for over 21 years. We use a whole-person approach to chiropractic health care, combining today’s best hands-on techniques and physiotherapy procedures. Ask about our payment options.