How Chiropractor Treatment can Help with Sciatica
Chiropractic for Sciatica
If you’ve ever fallen to your knees in pain because of sciatica, you know how scary it can be. Pain that locks up your low back and travels down your leg after sneezing, coughing, or bending over is one of the least welcomed surprises you can experience in your life.
“Sciatica is not itself a condition; it’s a set of symptoms,” says Dr. Yoga Raja Rampersaud, a spine surgeon in the orthopaedics division of Toronto Western Hospital. Sciatica specifically refers to symptoms that travel along the path of the sciatic nerve, the longest and thickest nerve in your body. Sciatica pain travels from your lower back through your buttocks and down behind the leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.
Commonly though, “sciatica” has been used loosely to describe any pain that travels down the leg, or even just for back pain. For that reason, patients who come to our chiropractic clinic will have a consultation and examination to better understand their condition.
Radiating pain (sciatica) can be caused by any irritation, inflammation or compression of the nerve. It can come on suddenly from disc conditions for example, or develop over time from arthritic conditions. Disc conditions and arthritis are common causes for sciatica and common reasons people see a chiropractor for sciatica. Anyone can develop symptoms of sciatica , but it happens most commonly between age 30 and 50.
“Symptoms can range from very mild and tolerable to completely intolerable, and you can’t get out of bed, never mind work or otherwise function,” says Dr. Rampersaud.
Should I see a doctor or chiropractor for sciatica?
When sciatica pain is accompanied by weakness in the foot, weakness in the leg, pins-and-needles or numbness your health care provider certainly should know. If you experience new bowel or bladder incontinence or have numbness in the crotch, head to a hospital immediately.
The good news is that even though sciatica can be extremely painful and disabling, most suffers do get better with conservative therapy: time, pain management and modified activities of daily living.
When you see a chiropractor for sciatica, you will be asked about your health history and about the symptoms you are currently feeling. A number of different physical tests help your chiropractor to understand your sciatica better. For example, you may be asked to walk on your heels or on your toes to test the strength of your leg muscles, or you may be helped to straighten and raise your leg.
Having sciatica doesn’t mean that you are destined for surgery. In fact, the majority of people with disc issues and sciatica can get well-using chiropractic care.Stretching, exercise and manual therapies (like spinal adjustments) are strategies used when seeing a chiropractor for sciatica. And those treatments work better when you use them together. It’s estimated that less than 5% of people with sciatica are good candidates for surgical intervention.
If you’ve been suffering sciatic pain, find out how chiropractic can help you.