What is Sciatica?

  • Sciatica is a term used to describe irritation of the sciatic nerve, the widest and longest nerve in the human body.
  • The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back, formed by several nerve roots as they exit the spine.
  • Once formed, the sciatic nerve runs through the buttock and down the back of the leg, eventually branching off into smaller nerves that supply most of the leg, ankle and foot.



What causes sciatica?

Sciatica can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Disc herniation/bulging
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal misalignment (Subluxation)
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Diabetes
  • Tumors
  • Nutritional deficiencies/toxicities

How do I know if I have sciatica?

  • You may find that your pain follows the distribution of the nerve – down the back of the leg, into the calf and perhaps even into your feet and toes.
  • Numbness and tingling, burning sensations, weakness of the leg and shooting pains are all also common to sciatic nerve irritation.
  • Pain may be sharp at times and disrupt normal daily activities such as sleeping, walking and driving.


How do chiropractors help with sciatica?

  • Your chiropractor will first perform a thorough health history and physical examination to determine the source of your sciatic nerve problem.
  • Subluxations (misalignments of the bones of your spine that result in nerve pressure) are often the cause of sciatic nerve pain.
  • Chiropractors specialise in detecting and correcting subluxations (with spinal adjustments). This relieves pressure on your nervous system, providing relief of sciatic pain.


The vertebral subluxation and sciatica

  • Research has demonstrated that subluxations in your spine can induce inflammation and irritate the nerve roots exiting the spine which eventually form the sciatic nerve.
  • Studies have also shown that nerve roots can be stimulated through motion of the vertebrae during a chiropractic adjustment.
  • Research shows the effectiveness of chiropractic care on sciatica, with patients reporting greater relief of pain, fewer pain days during recovery, quicker return to work and fewer drugs needed compared to those going without chiropractic.


Always conservative before invasive

  • After considering the safe and effective nature of chiropractic and the risks associated with drugs and surgery, it makes a lot of sense that nearly all patients should complete a course of conservative care before considering more invasive means.
  • In fact, one study showed that most patients benefited from spinal correction to the same degree as if they underwent surgery.
  • More invasive medical care has its place in some situations; your chiropractor can help advise you on your specific situation.




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A Healthy Back for Life

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