Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg, caused by general compression and/or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot.
Sciatica pain can vary widely. The pain is felt in the lower back, buttock, and/or various parts of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg.
Pain can be severe in prolonged exposure to cold weather. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. It most often occurs on one side. The pain or numbness may also be felt on the back of the calf or on the sole of the foot. The affected leg may feel weak. It often starts slowly. Sciatica pain may get worse after standing or sitting, at night, when sneezing, coughing, or laughing.
Like a large river created by smaller streams, five pairs of nerves exit the spine in the lower back to form the two sciatic nerves. The soft, pulpy disc between each spinal bone is often involved. While a disc can’t “slip,” it can bulge, herniate or rupture. Disc Injury can put direct pressure on the nearby nerves. The result? Swelling, inflammation, and pain when coughing, sneezing or with other kinds of movement.
Sciatica often worsens with extended bed rest. Pain pills or muscle relaxers are unable to correct the nerve compression caused by a bulging disc.
Surgery often involves cutting away disc tissue or removing bone to make room for the nerve. Sciatica is rarely the result of weak muscles, however weak muscles can predispose the spine to injury. The resultant inflammation irritates nerve roots that cause the pain of sciatica.
Fortunately, sciatica often responds to safe, natural chiropractic care.
Improving joint motion with a series of chiropractic adjustments has produced results for millions. “Before” and “after” images of the lower back often show improved disc height and spacing. Many patients report that they can resume their lives and that their symptoms disappear without drugs or surgery.
Due to our comprehensive training in musculoskeletal management, numerous sources of evidence have shown that chiropractic management is much safer, and less expensive, than allopathic medical treatments, particularly for low-back pain.
One such study, published in 1993, found that chiropractic management of low-back pain is superior to allopathic medical management in terms of safety, effectiveness, and cost, concluding:
“There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of LBP (low-back pain) was transferred from medical physicians to chiropractors.”
In addition, researchers have also found that chiropractic adjustments affect the chemistry of biological processes on a cellular level!
What that means is that chiropractic care can affect the basic physiological processes that influence oxidative stress and DNA repair, so in addition to addressing any immediate spinal misalignment that might cause pain, it can also address deeper dysfunction in your body.
Chiropractors are uniquely skilled to evaluate and reduce the most common cause of sciatic nerve pain. It’s the natural approach to relief and better health. Chiropractic is a team approach to better health.
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Sciatica, PubMed Health, June 4, 2011.
Sciatica, Wikipedia November, 2011.
J. Mercola, D.O., How to Prevent Lower Back Pain. Mercola.com Newsletter: March 30, 2010.