Do you suffer from debilitating low back pain? Do you have sharp and shooting leg pain? Are you unsure as to what is causing your discomfort? Have you had treatment to try and solve the mysterious problem? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re certainly not alone! Every year millions of people throughout the world deal with the effects of sciatica. Whether they have been diagnosed or not, the symptoms are still the same and can be quite devastating to everyday life. So what can you do to reverse the effects of sciatica and live a pain-free life? Let’s take a look at what sciatica really is, what causes it, and how your local Burnaby chiropractor can alleviate both symptoms and pain.
So what exactly is sciatica?
Sciatica is known by pain that starts in the low back or buttock and travels into one or both legs. Sciatic nerve pain may vary in intensity and frequency: minimal, moderate, severe and occasional, intermittent, frequent or constant. Pain is typically described as dull, achy, sharp, toothache-like, pins and needles or similar to electric shocks. Additional symptoms associated with sciatica include burning, numbness and tingling sensations. Sciatica is also called radiating or referred pain, neuropathy, or neuralgia. A misconception is that sciatica is a disorder—however, sciatica is really just a symptom of a disorder.
What causes sciatica?
Simply put, sciatica is the result of nerve compression. Disorders known to result in sciatic nerve pain include: lumbar spine subluxations, herniated or bulging discs, pregnancy and childbirth, tumours, and non-spinal disorders such as diabetes, constipation, or sitting on a back pocket wallet.
One of the most common causes of sciatica is piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle makes its home in the lower part of the spine, connects to the thighbone, and assists in hip rotation. The sciatic nerve runs beneath the piriformis muscle. This muscle can be injured from a slip and fall, hip arthritis, or a difference in leg length. These situations can result in cramping and spasm to develop in the piriformis muscle, leading to pinching of the sciatic nerve and causing inflammation and pain. Sciatic nerve compression may result in the loss of feeling (sensory loss), paralysis of a single limb or group of muscles (monoplegia), and insomnia.
How can chiropractic care help reduce the effects of sciatica?
Chiropractic care revolves around helping the body heal itself. It’s based on the scientific principle that restricted spinal movement results in pain and reduced function/performance. Chiropractic care uses several techniques to achieve such effective results, however, spinal adjustments are at the core of every chiropractic treatment regime.
Manipulation of the spinal joints frees restricted movement of the spine and corrects misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spinal column. Spinal adjustments help by reducing nerve irritability, resulting in less inflammation, muscle spasm, and other symptoms related to sciatica. Adjustments are not painful and do not require medication!
Next time you’re wondering what might be causing your back or leg pain, make a visit to your chiropractor and get back to living a pain-free life!