What Are Sciatica Causes?
Sciatica causes include lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, pregnancy, and muscle spasms. Specifically, it is triggered by irritation in the lower lumbar and lumbosacral regions of the spine. First, lumbar spinal stenosis is caused by a narrowing of the lower back spinal canal. Second, degenerative disc disease occurs when the vertebral disks break down. Third, spondylolisthesis is a condition where one vertebra slips over another vertebra. Other sciatica causes include excess weight, irregular exercise schedule, high heels, and sleeping on a bad mattress. Unfortunately, some underlying causes are more severe than others. Further, sciatica causes are usually more severe than the sciatica itself. Patients who experience debilitating symptoms should find out if they are experiencing any of the sciatica causes. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options, such as chiropractic for sciatica, that the patient can receive.1
Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica is a symptom, not a condition. However, sciatica is associated with several symptoms. Mainly, patients with sciatica experience a shooting pain along the sciatic nerve. The pain can affect the lower back, buttocks, and legs, and the pain is often associated with the sciatica causes. Sciatica patients also experience leg numbness, and they can experience a tingling sensation in the feet and toes. The severity of the symptoms fluctuates, and symptoms can be aggravated when the patient sits for long periods. Patients may also experience other symptoms, and the other symptoms can occur due to sciatica causes.2
Treatment for Sciatica
Fortunately, there are a few treatment options for patients who experience acute sciatica. Typically, at-home treatment options work for acute sciatica. First, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medications can provide pain relief. Patients should check to see if medications interact with any prescriptions that they take. Next, patients should engage in exercises such as walking and light stretching. Finally, a hot or cold compression pack should be applied to the painful area. Patients should alternate between hot and cold, and they should not leave the compression packs on for too long.3
Treatment for Chronic Sciatica
Similarly, there are treatment options for patients who experience chronic sciatica. Contrastingly, a combination of medical and at-home treatment options work for chronic sciatica. Patients might experience relief from over-the-counter medications, but they will also need additional treatment. Physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and prescription painkillers are ways to relieve symptoms and treat sciatica causes. Rarely, the patient’s doctor will recommend surgery. Specifically, the patient might undergo lumbar laminectomy or discectomy. The type of surgery depends on the sciatica causes. Lumbar laminectomy widens the spinal cord and reduces pressure on the nerves. Discectomy is the partial or complete removal of a herniated disk. Generally, patients should treat surgery as the last choice to treat sciatica. Fortunately, there are safer options.4
Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?
The longest and widest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve, and it runs from the lower back down to both knees. It controls several lower leg muscles, and sciatica affects the sensation that the sciatic nerve is in charge of. Many patients experience sciatica causes at some point during their lives, and one safe treatment option is to find a chiropractor for sciatica pain.5 Chiropractor for sciatica is one of several safe, non-surgical treatment options for sciatica. Often, sciatica chiropractic treatment is a care option that is used within a few months of the first sciatica symptoms. Chiropractors can address the symptoms as well as the sciatica causes.6
How Many Treatments for Sciatica with a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors specialize in treating back pain, and sciatica causes a significant amount of back pain. First, the chiropractor has to diagnose the patient with sciatica by finding the sciatica causes. The chiropractor might use x-ray, MRI, CT scan, or other tests to determine the cause. They also have to find out whether or not chiropractic care will work on the sciatica causes. Next, the chiropractor may use cold therapy, ultrasound, a TENS unit, and spinal manipulation to treat the sciatica. Cold therapy reduces inflammation, and ultrasound is used to reduce swelling. A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit uses electrical currents to reduce muscle spasms and acute pain. Chiropractic adjustments are safe, spinal manipulation techniques that restore alignment to the spine. Spinal manipulation reduces inflammation, spasms, pain, and other sciatica symptoms. Sometimes, chiropractors have to refer their sciatica patients to a medical doctor.7
Massage Therapy for Sciatic Nerve Treatment
Massage therapy is a treatment option that complements chiropractic care and physical therapy. Usually, it is a very safe therapy for relieving pain and reducing symptoms. Generally, it is an effective method to relieve pain. One study found that deep tissue massage is equally as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs in relieving lower back pain. Tense muscles may put pressure on the sciatic nerve, and massage therapy relaxes tense muscles. Soft tissue massage can stimulate the body’s endorphin release to naturally relieve pain. There are a wide variety of massage techniques, and several types of massage can be used to treat sciatic pain. Patients can try deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, neuromuscular massage, myofascial release, and hot stone massage. Each style stimulates different benefits within the body. They should also find a massage therapist who has experience with treating sciatic pain.8
Exercises for Pain Relief
Patients can engage in exercises to relieve sciatica symptoms. Specifically, exercises that stretch and rotate the hip can provide relief. For example, reclining pigeon pose, sitting pigeon pose, forward pigeon pose, knee to opposite shoulder, sitting spinal stretch, and standing hamstring stretch can all relieve sciatica symptoms. The poses focus on stretching the glutes, lower back, and lumbar muscles. Additionally, a physical therapist can recommend more exercises for the patient to try. Patients should receive approval from their physical therapist before they try any new exercises. Some exercises can aggravate the sciatica, and patients should not experience too much pain or discomfort when they exercise. Additionally, patients may need to work towards being able to perform more difficult stretches and exercises. The patient’s exercise program is based on the severity of the sciatica and the sciatica causes.9
2, 3, 4, 5 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com
Find out more about how chiropractic care can help with sciatica.