Have you ever felt a sharp pain on your lower back when you try to bend? Such pain can be an indicator of sciatica. Statistically speaking, nearly 40% of men and women have to deal with sciatica at some point. In as much as a majority of these cases resolve naturally or with pain relievers, there’s always the risk of having to deal with a stubborn case. Such a case needs a more practical approach and one of the leading options happens to be chiropractic treatment. But before we can learn about how chiropractic treatment can help treat sciatica, let’s first understand the condition.
Sciatica or simply sciatic nerve pain is debilitating pain that occurs on the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the most extensive on the body that runs from the lower back area and branches into the legs.
What Are the Symptoms?
Generally, the main symptom of sciatica is nerve pain. It can be felt in the lower back region, the hip or in the legs. This pain can range from mild to severe. For some people, they’ll only feel a faint ache or unresponsiveness in the leg. For others, the pain may move from being dull to becoming sharp and excruciating. This is a possible sign of a severe case. You need chiropractic intervention at such a point. Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Tingling sensation
- Weakness in the legs
- Difficulty in moving your legs
What Causes It?
Sciatica normally results when there’s compression on the sciatic nerve. 90% of cases are caused by a herniated disc. This adds pressure to the sacral region resulting in a sharp pain along the lower back. Other common causes of sciatica include:
- Spinal tumor – A growth on the spine is likely to cause a subluxation (misalignment) and this may compress the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica.
- Physical Injury – A sports injury, a car crash injury or any other type of personal injury that affects the lower back may cause sciatica if the sciatic nerve is damaged.
- Pregnancy – The extra weight of the growing fetus may cause pressure on the sciatic nerve resulting in sciatica in some pregnant women.
Are There Risk Factors?
Though sciatica mostly results from a compressed sciatic nerve, there are risk facts involved. These risk factors may make sciatica more severe is some people than in others. They include:
- Work – Jobs that involve body twisting and heavy lifting increase the risk of sciatica as opposed to office work.
- Physical inactivity – Even though manual labor has a higher risk of sciatica than office work, it doesn’t mean that you should live a sedentary lifestyle. You need to keep your body physically active. So, exercising is a good idea.
- Age – As you get older, the risk of a herniated disc improves and so does the risk of sciatica.
- Prolonged sitting – Sitting for long hours puts pressure on your spine and also on the sciatic nerve and this may cause sciatica.
- Chronic diseases – A disease like Diabetes can make you more susceptible to nerve damage.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Traditionally, sciatica has been managed using invasive techniques like:
- Prescription drugs – From anti-inflammatories and antidepressants to narcotics and muscle relaxers, they are all used to fight sciatica.
- Medical surgery – In extreme cases, surgery has been the only option for a majority of people.
- Injections – Some people go for steroid injections as opposed to medications. The problem with this option is that it can lead to complications if used regularly.
But now, there’s chiropractic treatment which is the direct opposite of the traditional approaches. It’s a natural, drug-free, and noninvasive option. Thus, it has fewer risks.
How is a Chiropractic Diagnosis Done?
Before beginning chiropractic treatment, Dr. Hinz at Cool Springs Chiropractic has to determine if your condition is really sciatica. Of course, this comes after identifying the discussed symptoms. The chiropractor will use image technologies like x-ray, EMG, and MRI to determine the extent of sciatic nerve damage. The images will also be used to determine the ideal chiropractic technique for your condition.
How is a Chiropractic Treatment Administered?
As mentioned, chiropractic treatment helps you to obtain sciatica relief in a natural way. So, the expert (a chiropractor) employs hands-on maneuvers to help treat the problem. In some cases, a chiropractor may use assisted devices to administer chiropractic care. The most popular technique for chiropractic treatment is a spinal adjustment. Here, a chiropractor manipulates your vertebrae so as to clear subluxations along your spine. By doing this, the sciatic nerve is released from compression. In the end, you’ll have relief from sciatica pain.
Other than spinal adjustments, Dr. Hinz may also decide to inculcate the following techniques in your chiropractic treatment plan:
- Spinal decompression – Here, a decompressing device is used to instead of hands to relieve the sciatic nerve from compression. It’s an advanced chiropractic technology that helps to stretch your body in the gentlest fashion.
- Cold therapy – It’s common to suffer an inflammation on the lower back following sciatica. This has to be managed in a natural way before spinal adjustments are done. So, a chiropractor may resort to placing ice on the affected area to help soothe the inflammation.
- Sound waves – Using an ultrasound machine, a chiropractor may direct sound waves into the affected part to gentle heat the area in order to improve circulation. The waves will also decrease inflammation, muscle stiffness, and pain.
- TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) – A chiropractor may also resort to the use of a TENS machine to stimulate the sciatic nerve. This helps to reduce spasms.
What Are the Preventive Options?
Sciatica is preventable with a few lifestyle adjustments. Some of the adjustments you can embrace include:
- Routine exercising – To ensure that your spine is flexible and is not prone to misalignment, observing an exercise routine is a wise move.
- Proper sitting – Taking the wrong sitting postures is a risk of sciatica. So, you have to ensure that you sit right. Additionally, you need to avoid prolonged sitting.
You can also consider seeing a chiropractor. The expert may help you find better ways to keep sciatica at bay. Chiropractic care is not just a treatment but also a preventive approach for sciatica and other forms of chronic pain.
There’s absolutely no doubt that chiropractic treatment is a great option for treating sciatica. It’s a natural noninvasive approach that offers you a great alternative to medical surgery and medications. Additionally, you can use the treatment as a preventive approach. If you believe you may be suffering from sciatica, contact Cool Springs Chiropractic today!