Sciatica

What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It begins in the lower spine (known as the lumbar spine) and runs down each leg. It begins in the buttock and travels into the back of the thigh all the way down to the foot.

Sciatica is a symptom, it is not a diagnosis. The diagnosis is what is causing the irritation of the sciatic nerve eg. disc herniation, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome to name a few.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

The most common pain from the sciatic nerve is characterised by the following symptoms:

  • Occurs mostly in one leg.
  • Begins in the lower back or buttock and travels down the back of the thigh and commonly into the lower leg and/or foot.
  • Can be felt as a sharp pain, burning or searing sensation.
  • Can also feel numbness, tingling or pins and needles down the leg.
  • Leg or foot weakness may also be present.

 

What are the common causes of sciatica?

1. Referred pain: comes from degeneration (damage) of spinal joints, ligaments and muscles of the lower spine.

2. Neurogenic pain: occurs when a lower back nerve is compressed or irritated. The most common causes of this compression or irritation are –

  • Disc bulge/herniation can touch the exiting spinal nerve and cause the symptoms of sciatica.
  • Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal which causes a smaller space for the nerve to exit.
  • Piriformis syndrome involves compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve exiting under or through this muscle.

 

How long does it take to get better?

The healing process takes time and varies from person to person depending on the cause of the sciatica episode. Depending on your individual case, duration of symptoms and history of your condition it can take anywhere from a few days to months to experience relief.

How can chiropractic help?

Evidence exists for chiropractic care and sciatica. An accurate diagnosis of your sciatica symptoms is imperative in providing appropriate care. After your assessment and examination with us we will determine if our chiropractic care may be of benefit to your condition. We design an individual care plan tailored to your specific presentation with the aim to help restore appropriate spinal function, therefore focussing on the cause of your symptoms as opposed to your symptomatic presentation only. For further information continue to browse our website.

 

References

Carolyn J. Hildreth, MD; Cassio Lynm, MA; Richard M. Glass, MD AMA. 2009;302(2):216. doi:10.1001/jama.302.2.216

 

McMorland, G., et al., Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther.,2010. 33(8): p. 576–584.

We are excited to have you as a patient at Sims & Finn Chiropractic

Our goal is to assess you thoroughly to determine if you have a structural shift in your spine causing secondary condition (symptoms).
We then explain and provide you with care options. We customise a plan of care for you, taking into consideration your age, health and lifestyle factors.
Once we have worked together to create the necessary health improvements, we will assist you in choices to maintain the corrections you have achieved.

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