Sciatica is a common condition suffered by millions of Americans every year. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, up to 40% of people will get sciatica during their life, and the chances increase as you age. Those who live a sedentary lifestyle, are overweight, or smoke have an even higher chance of suffering from this condition.
Let’s learn more.
Sometimes referred to as neuropathy, sciatica feels like tingling, aching, or burning, but the pain can become severe enough to affect walking. Pain caused by sciatica often occurs on one side of the body in the leg, hip, calf, or sole of the foot, with numbness in other parts. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move.
Sciatica is caused by pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve which begins in the lower back and runs down the back of each leg. The sciatic nerves serve to control the muscles at the back of the knees and lower legs. Sensation to the back of the thigh, the outer and back part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot comes from the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica can be caused by something simple, like standing with more weight on one leg than the other. The hips become slightly misaligned, so that the person leans to one side to compensate. However, the results are painful over time.
Older people suffer more from sciatic pain. This is why it is important for everyone to exercise and stay involved with physical activities. This will lead to benefits in muscle tone, weight control, joints, stress-relief, circulation, mobility, bone density, arthritis, and less pain from sciatica.
Chiropractic adjustments can provide relief from pain and improve range of motion. Adjustment of the spine and joints releases the nerve that is compressed and smooths out the muscle’s movement. From this, the patient’s posture is back in alignment, and pressure is relieved on the joints. These adjustments are also safe and effective.
Rather than prescribing medications for pain relief, the chiropractor will use a variety of treatments such as stretching and applying pressure to joints. You may be given specific exercises to do on your own to help with pain. There may be information provided to you on nutrition and wellness that helps with your symptoms.
A study of those dealing with sciatica found that the patients who received chiropractic therapy had much less pain and disability than those who did not receive chiropractic care. In fact, research found that care provided by chiropractors was more effective than medical care and medications in treating sciatica.
More and more research is being directed to the effectiveness of chiropractic care for sciatica. In 2015, a number of studies seem to support that chiropractic care did in fact provide relief from sciatica as well as other types of back pain. Back pain in general has been one of the most researched uses of chiropractic care.
The National Institutes of Health references studies that found chiropractic care is safe for nearly everyone. These studies have paved the way for more people to choose it as an option, especially for back pain, including sciatica.
There is no one answer that fits everyone. It depends on the severity of the pain, the cause of the pain, and how the patient responds to treatment. Some people will respond after a few sessions, but others may need more long-term care.