What is Sciatica?
Lots of patients contact us for sciatica treatment at our clinic in Walton On The Hill. Lots of people still don’t understand what sciatica really is. So… what is sciatica?
Sciatica simply means irritation of the sciatic nerve. This often causes symptoms such as low back or buttock pain that radiates down the back of the legs, sometimes all the way to the foot but often just to the hamstring or calf areas. The pain can often be accompanied by pins and needles down the leg, or sometimes even numbness and weakness.
Normally sciatica improves within a 4-6 week timeframe, however it can sometimes be a lot longer than this.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica produces pain and other symptoms due to something pressing or rubbing on the sciatic nerve. This pressing or rubbing can be related to a specific injury, but sciatica can also develop over a longer time frame without a pre-existing injury. This can often be very confusing and worrying but shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Things that can cause sciatica include:
- Injuries to the discs between the vertebra in our spine
- Spinal stenosis – an age related process whereby the part of the spine where nerves pass through becomes narrowed
- A build up of muscular tension in the buttock which then irritates the sciatic nerve
- Other back injuries
Whatever the cause of your sciatica, there is a lot that can be done to help reduce the irritation on the nerve and reduce your pain levels and other symptoms.
Treatment from a Chiropractor for Sciatica
Can Chiropractor’s Help Sciatica?
Yes! Chiropractor’s can help sciatica! An important step in working out how to help patients with sciatica is trying to understand what the underlying cause of the sciatica might be.
This allows us to target the treatment at the true cause, allowing long term improvement and injury prevention to occur, rather than just masking the symptoms. Therefore, the exact treatment you might experience for your sciatica will differ to someone else’s.
Seeing as Chiropractors are expertly trained to assess and treat problems related to the musculoskeletal system, we can help with all of the causes of sciatica mentioned above.
Treatment Techniques Used for Low Back Pain
Spinal Joint Adjustments
We use adjustments to improve the movement through any stiff joints in the spine and also other joints such as the foot and ankle.
Soft Tissue Release
There are various soft tissue release techniques we use for Sciatica, including instrumented assisted releases such as in the picture.
Performing exercises at home is an essential step in your road to recovery. Home exercises will help to strengthen the painful area and stop it from becoming injured again in the future.
Can Sciatica be a serious problem?
Sciatica can be very painful but is normally nothing to worry about. However, there are several symptoms that could indicate the problem is something much more serious. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should phone 999 or go to A and E:
- Sciatica on both sides
- Weakness or numbness in both legs that is severe and getting worse
- Numbness under or around your genitals or anus
- Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine, or lack of control when you pee
These could be symptoms of a serious back problem that needs to be treated in hospital as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage occurring. This would be very rare, but it is worth being safe than sorry when it comes to your health!