Sciatica is not a disorder. It is a symptom. It can be caused by continued pressure on the nerve running down the legs, called the sciatic nerve. It can also be caused by displacement of vertebrae in the lumbar area. Disc herniation or slipping can also cause the pain. A woman who is pregnant may have a misalignment due to pressure and movement from her child. Driving your vehicle with a wallet constantly in your back pocket can also cause the pressure on the nerve that results in sciatica. It can become severe enough to cause numbness or even paralysis in the leg or legs that are affected.
A proper diagnosis is important. The chiropractors initial exam will attempt to find the underlying causes. This will be done by radiological studies such as MRI or x-rays. Electromyography may also be applied. These exam may not only find the potential cause for the pain but will also rule out any reason why a chiropractic treatment or therapy may not be what is needed.
Chiropractic treatment is an attempt to help the body heal itself by keep everything in alignment that can reduce or prevent function or performance. It is a fact that having spinal movement that is restricted will cause pain and this performance deficit. There are several different treatment modalities that are used by doctors of chiropractic. Your chiropractor may use and prescribe ice treatment. TENS units and adjustments may also be used. Ultrasound may be used as well by creating sound waves that will penetrate into the tissues, thus increasing circulation. This helps reduce cramps, stiffness, swelling, spasms and the severe pain.
A TENS unit reduces spasms and pain by the use of a battery operated stimulating machine. The intensity of the electrical current will vary by patient and pain and it will reduce acute spasms and acute pain.
The spinal manipulation that is done by chiropractors is at the very core of treatment. It will free the restricted movement of the spine and assist in restoring the vertebrae that are misaligned. Getting these vertebral bodies into the correct position will assist in reducing the irritability of the nerve that is causing the inflammation. Spinal manipulation has been a successful and safe technique used by chiropractors for many years. It is a proven care that should be painful. There are many different types of manipulations that are taught to students of chiropractic during their education. It is not unusual to have an adjustment at one point and return to the doctor for a totally different procedure.
If the cause of the sciatica is the result of issues that are out of the realm of chiropractic medicine your chiropractor will recommend and refer you to a medical doctor for treatment.