Sciatica, a condition characterized by disturbing lower back pain, is one of the most rampant back ailments in the world today. In the United States alone, one-in-every-ten adults suffer from sciatica at one point in their lives. Sciatica pain normally originates from the lower back area but spreads to other parts along the sciatic nerve. We are talking about the hips, the butts, and sometimes the leg. Its pain is the shooting type and can be so severe in the sense that your normal life is interrupted.
Though we have always known sciatica to be treated by medical approaches such as drugs and invasive options, a good number of patients are considering chiropractic treatment. Unlike medical approaches, chiropractic treatment is not invasive and has few known side effects. It’s an all-natural treatment that involves gentle adjustment of the spine to treat misalignments along its path (collectively known as subluxation). In the end, the spinal adjustments bring about pain relief.
Today, chiropractic treatment is one of the most sought-after alternative therapies in the world. But before considering it for sciatica management, here are 10 important things you should know:
- Sciatica is as a Result of Spinal Compression
Before sciatica can result, there’s must be a compression along the spine. It’s the compression that interferes with the physical alignment of the sciatic nerve. In this case, the sciatic nerve becomes irritated and pain results. The compression can be because of a degenerative disc disorder, slipping of a vertebral disc, or a narrow spinal canal. Sometimes, spinal compression may be associated with pregnancy discomfort or overweight.
- Sciatica Pain May Manifest in Different Ways
We’ve already mentioned pain as the primary manifestation for sciatica. However, it’s important to know that it can show in different ways. They include:
- Isolated lower back pain
- A painful feeling in the leg when you try to stand up
- A tingling sensation in your leg when you sit for long
- Aching only on one leg or on one side of the leg
- Frequent pain on the lower back region that’s sometimes irritating
Additionally, because of the severity of sciatica, one leg may be rendered numb. It becomes hard to actually move it.
- There’s Always a Chiropractic Diagnosis Before the Adjustments
Prior to a spinal adjustment, a chiropractor has to do a professional diagnosis. For starters, the expert will review your medical history to determine what may be causing your sciatica. The expert may also run imaging exams like x-ray tests, CT scans, and MRIs. The finding from these exams will help to affirm the chiropractor’s initial prognosis.
- Spinal Adjustments Are the Core Consideration for Chiropractors
Spinal adjustments (popularly termed as spinal manipulation) are usually the core practice in chiropractic treatment. In this case, a misaligned spine is kindly manipulated to decompress the sciatic nerve. The adjustments are characterized by gentle physical pressure and calculated force. Each adjustment is done with a lot of care to avoid damaging the spine. Essentially, it’s the skill of spinal manipulation that sets chiropractic treatment apart from medical therapies.
- A Chiropractor May Do More Than Spinal Adjustments
Though spinal adjustments are the key consideration for chiropractors, they may also resort to other techniques. They include cold therapy and ultrasound. Cold therapy involves using ice packs to soothe lower back inflammation and pain. Ultrasound, on the other hand, involves using sound waves to enhance circulation and to minimize swelling, ache, and cramps.
- Chiropractic Treatment May Work Better in Combination with Other Techniques
Since you already know what spinal manipulation can do; now try to imagine adding massage therapy or stretching exercises to your treatment. The results will just be impressive. Massage therapy, for instance, will relax tight muscles on your back and those surrounding the spine. This encourages the performance of spinal adjustments. Stretching exercises, on the other hand, aid in speedy recovery after chiropractic therapy.
- Chiropractors Don’t Just Treat the Symptoms; They Treat the Cause
Unlike most doctors and general practitioners, chiropractors are not just concerned with symptoms of sciatica. As a matter of fact, they are more concerned with the root cause. This is because they understand that treating the cause not only treats the symptoms but it also prevents sciatica from recurring. This is why spinal manipulation is at the center of everything. As discussed, sciatica is due to a compressed sciatica nerve and so the adjustments will help decompress it.
- What You Do At Home Following Chiropractic Treatment is Decisive
When leaving a chiropractor’s office, you’ll be offered a number of at-home care instructions. These instructions need to be followed to prevent sciatica from recurring. For example, you may be advised to:
- Avoid prolonged sitting or sleeping only on one side all night.
- Find an ergonomic seat to sit on and a supportive mattress to sleep on.
- Observe a proper diet plan and take nutritional supplements that the chiropractor recommends to boost your spinal health.
- Exercises Are Vital for Preventing Sciatica in the Future
After your chiropractic sessions are over, you shouldn’t go back to your sedentary lifestyle. Avoiding activities that are physically demanding and sitting or sleeping for hours doesn’t prevent sciatica from recurring. On the contrary, such habits may encourage the condition sooner than you think. Therefore, it’s important to be physically active after the treatment. You need to exercise your spine. This means finding a workout routine that you can comfortably follow.
- Working with a Certified Chiropractor is the Difference Maker
Though what a chiropractor does may look like something that you can do or ask a friend to do on you, it’s actually more complicated than it looks. It involves years of practice and a professional understanding of the musculoskeletal system. For this reason, you shouldn’t attempt the technique on your own. If you do, you may risk aggravating the condition. You can trust Dr. Hinz at Cool Springs Chiropractic to take amazing care of you!