As someone who may be visiting this site or anyone above the age of 25 should know, back pain is common, starts off ignorable, becomes annoying, and can very well become a major damper on your day.
But back pain can be so much more dreadful than a sign that perhaps you should lie down for a bit. The pain can become unbearable, and it might not even be limited to one part of your body.
One terrible form of back pain is sciatica, and this blog will shed some light on what it is and how chiropractic may be a viable option for managing the pain.
What Is Sciatica?
One of the worst forms of back pain is named sciatica, a pain that is not limited to just the back but radiates through your hips and buttocks down to each leg.
That pain comes from a particular nerve called the sciatic nerve in our spines. It is the longest nerve in our lower backs, running all the way from our lower back through the back of each leg.
When it is pinched or damaged in any way, the nerve sends out signals of pain to alert us that something is wrong. Because it is a long nerve, you can feel the pain even in your legs!
As written by Mayoclinic.org, pain levels can vary widely: You might feel a mild ache, a burning sensation, or all the way up to excruciating, debilitating pain. It can feel like electric jolts or shocks in the affected areas.
What Can Cause Sciatica To Flare Up?
Our spines are composed of vertebra and connective tissue (cushioning), and the sciatic nerve sits within the vertebra. Over time, due to injuries, or from improper posture, this connective tissue can wear away, causing the vertebra to compress and pinch the nerve which causes pain.
However, mild pain might only be the beginning. Some our regular activities and health conditions can in fact make the situation a whole lot worse, such as:
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Having poor posture
- Exercising without rest
- Lifting extremely heavy objects
- Being overweight / pregnant
- Being constipated
In general, most of these common aggravators cause additional pain by further stressing or pinching the sciatic nerve.
Can A Chiropractor Heal Sciatica?
Sciatica is often first treated with rest and medication; mild cases see the pain going in away in 4 to 6 weeks. But can you wait more than a month for a level 8 to 10 of pain to go away?
That is when people start searching for alternatives to cope. Because sciatica originates from the spinal area (our lower backs), seeing a chiropractor is certainly one of the best first steps a patient can take to get it fixed.
Why is that you ask? Well because chiropractic literally specializes in matters concerning the human spine!
How Chiropractic Can Help Sciatica
The first step that any chiropractor takes for treatment is to learn everything they can about your body and your lifestyle. Chiropractic’s holistic approach leaves no stone unturned because oftentimes there might just be a good-yet-hidden reason for sciatic pain.
Once a medical history and a picture of your daily habits is formed, chiropractors may then proceed with common treatments such as:
For a layman, the crack and crunch of bones being pushed back into place is probably the most memorable aspect when thinking about chiropractic. And yes, these physical adjustments are often very effective for treating sciatica if it is a result of misaligned vertebra or slipped discs.
Sometimes the muscles of our back can knot up, forming trigger points that pinch the sciatic nerve from the inflammation. By using a lighter form of physical touch (massage), a chiropractor might be able to loosen these knots, thereby reducing the pressure on the nerve and therefore also reduce the pain of sciatica.
Applying heat and cold to the lower back is another chiropractic technique for helping with sciatica. The temperature changes cause the muscles to loosen up and stimulates circulation, potentially affecting areas not reachable by direct touch. This treatment method may use ice/hot packs or even ultrasound waves to affect the area.
Chiropractic physical therapy might not be limited to one-off sessions at the clinic either. Weak or too-tight muscles elsewhere in the body can also contribute to sciatica due to imbalances in how we move.
Chiropractors may assign do-at-home exercises to keep a patient walking towards a faster recovery.
Poor posture, eating habits, or perhaps even a bad chair can all be potential pain points for a person suffering from sciatica. After finding out everything they can about your lifestyle at home, chiros may ask that you try to change things up to try and reduce the severity and frequency of pain.
Benefits of Chiropractic For Sciatica
While we have written about how chiropractic helps with sciatica, you might be interested to know why chiropractic might be your first choice when dealing with the problem.
Most treatments offered in chiropractic do not have medication as part of the treatment process. If you noticed, most of the common treatments above are all physical and just require effort. Being drug free means far fewer risks of complications and lower potential toxicity to our stressed bodies.
Offers long term treatment
The road to recovery can be a long one, but most chiropractic treatments are designed for slow-but-effective steps that gradually fix or reduce the severity of sciatica symptoms (aka pain).
Chiropractors That Treat Sciatica
When it comes to debilitating pain, it is important to find licensed, experienced chiropractors who are well-versed in traditional and modern treatment options for sciatica.
Drs. Michael and David Black offer over 37 years of experience servicing Australian patients in the Armadale and Doncaster areas. Their friendly service is sure to put you at ease, and more importantly their skills as chiropractors will very likely ease your sciatica pains in a safe and timely manner.