How Chiropractic Helps with Sciatica

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a term that refers to sharp, shooting and radiating back pain that is often accompanied by other symptoms. It is a common type of back pain and one of the easiest to identify.

Sciatica is caused by the compression of your sciatic nerve. Pain starts when a disc located in your lower spine herniates. When this happens – either due to overuse or spinal injury – part of the disc protrudes and exert pressure on the surrounding nerves, producing the following symptoms:

  • Shooting, stabbing, or burning pain which worsens when sitting or standing
  • Lumbar pain and tingling sensations that radiate to the rear and leg
  • Muscle weakness or numbness on the affected leg
  • Immobility of a single limb or foot

Aside from disc herniation, other common sciatica causes include piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and pregnancy. In piriformis syndrome, cramping or spasms of the piriformis muscle – the muscle located above the sciatic nerve – presses on the nerve causing pain, loss of sensation, and tingling. 

In spinal stenosis, sciatica occurs when the nerve root is compressed by nerve passageway that’s become too narrow while in spondylolisthesis, nerve root impingement is caused by the forward displacement of one vertebra over another.

Degenerative disc disease, on the other hand, is an age-related deterioration and damage of the vertebral discs, causing pain. Muscle tension and strain on the spine also trigger sciatica symptoms during pregnancy. Other risk factors associated with sciatica include excess weight, sitting for extended periods, and diseases that cause nerve damage such as diabetes.

sciatica chiropractic treatment

Treatment Options

Those with mild to moderate sciatica usually get better without the need for surgery. For some, the pain subsides with sciatica treatment that involves heat and cold therapy. Others, however, may need over-the-counter pain medications. For pain that persists for more than 6 weeks and even months, you may need prescription medication, surgery, or alternative treatments

For those who prefer noninvasive and drugless treatments, sciatica chiropractic treatment is a viable option.  In chiropractic therapy, the treatment modalities used depend on the identified cause of a patient’s sciatic pain. After a detailed patient interview and performing chiropractic tests and diagnostic studies, your chiropractor reaches a diagnosis which will be the basis of your treatment care plan.

The treatment plan may include specific treatments that reduce pain and inflammation such as ice and cold therapy. Other treatments like ultrasound therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), massage, and stretching exercises aim to control pain by reducing cramping, stiffness, muscle spasms.

The most common sciatica chiropractic treatment is spinal manipulation or adjustment. Spinal adjustment is a safe and effective sciatica treatment. It aims to reduce pain, nerve irritation, and other symptoms by restoring spine alignment and relieving pressure off the pinched sciatic nerve.

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