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How Chiropractic Can Help Sciatica

Woman with back painIf you have experienced sciatic nerve pain, you understandably may want to seek treatment to relieve the problem. Sciatica is one of the most common medical conditions, impacting up to 40% of people at some point during their lives.

As a chiropractor in the Chesapeake region of Virginia for more than 20 years, I have helped many patients overcome their sciatic nerve pain. In this article, I will describe what sciatica is, and how chiropractic care can help you put a stop to sciatica.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to nerve pain due to the compression of the sciatic nerve. Often, this feels like a burning pain down one leg. However, it may also feel like weakness, numbness, or a pins-and-needles sensation. The sensations may come and go, and may worsen with certain positions.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It is formed from five nerve roots in the lower (lumbar) spine. These nerve roots then form a left and right sciatic nerve, running down each leg from your hips to just below your knees. The sciatic nerve plays a major role in connecting the spinal cord with the thighs, calves, and feet.

Unfortunately, sciatica can develop when the sciatic nerve is compressed, inflamed, or irritated. This can result from multiple causes, including:

  • Bulging or herniated discs: Bulging or herniated discs can compress or irritate the sciatic nerve. This is one of the most common causes of sciatica. Further, substances like hyaluronic acid or fibronectin can leak out of damaged discs, further irritating the sciatic nerve.
  • Foraminal stenosis: In spinal stenosis, the opening through which the sciatic nerve travels becomes narrowed. This can cause irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.
  • Degenerative joint disease of the spine: Degenerative spinal changes like the thickening of facet joint capsules or ligaments can compress the sciatic nerve.
  • Segmental instability: Vertebral stability can be compromised by multiple vertebral problems, compressing the sciatic nerve. These include when one vertebra slips onto the one below it, if there are vertebral defects, or if a vertebra becomes dislocated.
  • Cancers, infections, and growths: Abnormalities like tumors, cysts, infections, and abscesses can compress the sciatic nerve, leading to pain.

What Are The Risk Factors For Sciatica?

Sciatica has many different risk factors, some of which can be controlled while others cannot. They include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Smoking
  • Older age
  • Being tall
  • Sitting for long periods with poor posture
  • Having a physically intense job requiring heavy lifting
  • Previous back injuries
  • Weak muscles in the back and abdomen
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Genetics

Is A Chiropractor Good For Sciatica?

A chiropractor can often help with your sciatica, depending on the underlying cause. When your sciatica is due to a mechanical spine problem, like a bulging disc, chiropractic can help. If your doctor finds that your sciatica is due to an anatomical spine problem, like an infection or a tumor, then you will likely be referred to a different spinal specialist to treat the anatomical condition.

How Do I Get Rid of Sciatica?

Because sciatic nerve pain is just a symptom of an underlying cause, you must treat the spinal condition that is causing the pain in the first place. When the underlying cause of your sciatica is fixed, your sciatica will often resolve on its own.

How Long Does It Take A Chiropractor To Fix Sciatica?

Your sciatica will often begin to improve within the first several visits to a chiropractor. However, bear in mind that the time it takes a chiropractor to fix the condition depends on various factors, including the cause of your sciatica.

Can Exercises or Devices Help Fix Sciatica?

Depending on the underlying cause of your sciatica, your chiropractor may recommend specific exercises to help with your pain. Your chiropractor may also recommend certain devices, like a foam roller, if appropriate. Because the cause of each person’s pain may be different, it is important to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all device or treatment for sciatica. For this reason, you should beware of advertisements promising relief from sciatic pain: they can be gimmicks.

Treating Sciatica at Precision Spinal Care

If you are seeking care for sciatica, it is important to choose a doctor who will be able to address the root cause of the issue. A doctor who is specifically credentialed in spinal biomechanics will be able to perform a biomechanical spine assessment and give recommendations on how best to treat your condition.

My experience and expertise in spinal biomechanics allow me to competently and safely address your sciatica. I am a trauma and hospital-qualified spine management physician. I have credentials in MRI spine interpretation, spinal biomechanical engineering and orthopedic testing through the Academy of Chiropractic. I am also a fellow in Spinal Biomechanics and Trauma which is recognized through the SUNY Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine.

At your first visit, I will review your medical records and perform a thorough examination. After your exam, we will discuss my findings and I will answer any questions you have.

If we decide that chiropractic care is not the best treatment for your sciatica, I will refer you to the appropriate provider to best meet your needs.

At Precision Spinal Care we are happy to help you determine the best way to treat your sciatica. Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak with me or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment through our webpage.

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