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Sciatica

What is sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Most of the time, sciatica only affects one side of your body.

Sciatica usually happens when a herniated disk, a bone spur on the spine, or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine) presses on a nerve. This leads to swelling, pain, and sometimes numbness in the leg.

Even though sciatica can cause a lot of pain, most cases get better without surgery in just a few weeks. People with severe sciatica with a lot of leg weakness or changes in their bowels or bladders might be good candidates for surgery.

Symptoms

Sciatica is marked by pain from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and the back of your leg. You could feel the pain anywhere along the nerve path, but it’s most likely going from your lower back to your buttock, the back of your thigh, and your calf.

The pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning feeling or be unbearable. It can feel like a jolt or an electric shock at times. It can get worse if you cough or sneeze, and sitting for a long time can also worsen it. Most of the time, it only affects one side of your body.

Some people also feel tingling, numbness, or weakness in the leg or foot that is affected. You might feel pain in one part of your leg while another is numb.

What issues does sciatica lead to?

According to most sciatica chiropractors, even though sciatica usually goes away on its own, it can sometimes damage nerves in a way that can’t be fixed. Get medical help immediately if you have: a loss of feeling in the leg that has been hurt. Weakness in the portion that is injured.

Can a chiropractor help with sciatica?

Chiropractors are a great place to start when you have sciatica-like shooting pain or associated symptoms such as leg or foot tingling, numbness, or weakness. At your first appointment, a chiropractor for sciatica will ask you about your pain and health history. This helps them develop a treatment plan that is just right for them.

You might also get an X-ray so the chiropractor can figure out what’s hurting you. For example, an X-ray might show that your spine is getting smaller, putting pressure on your sciatic nerve.

What is the process of treatment? 

Treatment involves stretching and applying controlled pressure to your joints. The chiropractor might recommend specific exercises for you to do at home to help with your pain. Some may also provide nutrition and wellness education that can help relieve your symptoms.

You’ll generally need to see a chiropractor multiple times before you begin to get relief from sciatica.

What happens if you do not get sciatica treated?

If sciatica is left untreated, the sciatic nerve could get hurt. It could make your knees or legs feel numb, tingly, or, in the worst cases, weak. The longer it goes without treatment, the longer it will take for the numbness and weakness to disappear, and they may become permanent.

Does research back up the idea that chiropractic care can help with sciatica?

People with sciatica and other painful conditions sometimes go to a chiropractor. This is because chiropractic care might be a better way to deal with pain over the long term than taking pills daily.

You may have also tried many traditional ways to deal with pain, like medicine and physical therapy, but none helped.

It’s usually easy to find a chiropractor. You don’t need a referral from a doctor to see a chiropractor, and many of these practices can see patients very quickly. Also, health insurance plans are starting to cover chiropractic care more and more.