Sciatica

 
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Sciatica

Sciatica is caused by pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve and is a type of pain that affects the lower back, legs and feet.  The sciatic nerve runs from the pelvis, through the buttocks and along the legs down to the feet.  Inflammation, misalignment or damage to the back can cause compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.  A damaged disc or other back problem in the lower back or lumbar region frequently causes sciatic pain.  Symptoms include pain, tingling or numbness in the legs or buttocks.  Sometimes sciatica can also result in muscle weakness or problems with the tendon reflexes in the legs and feet.  The pain may increase over time, and it can be made worse by laughing, sneezing, coughing or being stationary for a long time.

Causes

There are many possible causes of sciatica, these are some of the main types:

  • ŸDisc damage such as a herniated, bulging or compressed disc.  Sometimes known as a slipped disc this can lead to  irritation of the sciatic nerve.
  • ŸSpinal stenosis is where changes to the spine cause the nerve passages to narrow.  This can be due to bone degeneration, changes to the ligaments in the spine or bone disease.
  • ŸCauda equina syndrome is a rare and serious condition that can lead to paralysis.  In addition to the symptoms of sciatica, this can lead to sudden loss of bowel or bladder control.  If these symptoms are experienced a doctor should be consulted urgently to enable the condition to be treated swiftly.

Treatment

Doctors generally test for sciatica by asking the patient to lie straight on their back with their legs out flat then raise one leg.  If this increases the pain, it is likely to be sciatica.  Many people treat their sciatica by regularly using painkillers such as ibuprofen.  Hot and cold compression of the lower back can also help alleviate symptoms.  Exercise is also recommended as it keeps the joints mobile and supported,  walking and gentle stretching are often sufficient to keep the lower back mobile and maintain muscle tone to support the lumbar region.  Maintaining a healthy weight will also aid mobility.  Chiropractic treatment of sciatica can help the sufferer by freeing up the joints in the back and releasing the pressure on the sciatic nerve.  A series of spinal manipulations will be carried out in order to increase movement in the lower back, bring the spine into a better alignment in order to reduce the irritation of the sciatic nerve.

The pain and symptoms of sciatica are signals that an underlying source exists. Chiropractic adjustments eliminate the cause of sciatica by restoring correct skeletal function and removing the nerve impingement. Chiropractic adjustments for sciatica focus on the lower back, hips, sacroiliac joints and lower extremities to reestablish skeletal biomechanics. Sciatica symptoms should dissipate once the impingement is lessened.

Testimonials

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