Sciatica is a symptom characterized by leg pain that possibly includes numbness, tingling or weakness that starts from the lower back and goes down to the buttocks and to the large sciatic nerves on the legs. This type of pain varies in frequency and intensity. It can be minimal, moderate or severe. A person may experience it occasionally, frequently or constantly in some cases. Pain involved with sciatica is often described as achy, dull, toothache sharp-like, needles and pins or akin to electric shocks. Sciatica is also known as radiating or referred pain, neuralgia or neuropathy. While many think of sciatica as a disorder, it is actually a symptom of a disorder.
Chiropractic doctors have the capability of addressing sciatica pain and find the root cause of it. The first step is to pinpoint the main cause of the pain. Diagnosis will entail a thorough review of the patient’s history as well as his physical and medical examination results. A patient may undergo MRI, x-ray, CT scans and/or nerve conduction velocity and electromyography. All these tests and exams will be useful in detecting potential contraindications for chiropractic treatments such as spinal adjustments and therapies.
The Chiropractic Approach
Chiropractic care helps the body in healing itself based on the principle that restrictions on spinal movement will lead to pain and lessen bodily function and performance. It is a non-evasive and non-drug form of treatment to address sciatica pain. Your doctor may use different methods to help relieve your sciatica such as ice therapies, ultrasound, TENS as well as spinal manipulations.
- Cold/Ice Therapy helps lessen inflammation and control the pain.
- Ultrasound creates gentle heat through sound waves to penetrate the tissues. This will help increase blood circulation and lessen spasms, swelling, cramping, stiffness and pain on the muscles.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS is a potable muscle-stimulating machine that helps control acute pain and reduces spasm. The larger version of this device is used by physical therapist, chiropractors and professionals.
- Spinal Manipulations or Adjustments are considered as the core of chiropractic treatment and care. This method frees up tense and restricted spinal movements and helps restore the alignment of the vertebral bodies. Adjustments lessen nerve irritability which is the root of inflammations, pain, spasms and sciatica. It is proven safe and highly effective technique mastered by chiropractic doctors using a combination of gentle pressure and minimal force.
Though chiropractic care may be the best treatment plan for sciatica, it may also be caused by other disorders beyond its scope. Your doctor will determine whether your condition needs to be addressed by another type of treatment or practice.