Sciatica

Introduction

The sciatic nerve runs from the pelvis, through the hip area and buttocks and down each leg. It is the longest nerve in the human body and branches into smaller nerves down each leg. The sciatic nerve (and its smaller branches)controls many of the muscles in the lower legs and also provides feeling to the thighs, legs and feet. Any pain radiating along the path of this nerve is diagnosed as sciatica. Symptoms often include a tingling or numb sensation on the affected side of the body. Chiropractic treatment is a gentle and effective way to treat sciatica pain.

What is Sciatica

Sciatica is a form of nerve dysfunction, also known as peripheral neuropathy. This nerve dysfunction can occur when the sciatic nerve is either compressed or damaged. Symptoms include difficulty sitting and standing for extended periods of time which can lead to weakness, tingling and numbness in the leg and foot. Sciatica can occur with varying levels of pain and discomfort and can occur throughout your lifetime. If left untreated, sciatica pain can worsen and result in permanent nerve injury.

The Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica can occur for several reasons. Degenerative spine conditions such as a herniated disc, bulging disc, protruding disc or a bone spur are the most frequent causes of sciatica as these conditions place pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Alternatively, injury such as a pelvis fracture or trauma to the buttocks or thigh can cause sciatica. Nearby internal muscles can also cause sciatica by placing prolonged external pressure on the nerve. Pressure can also be exerted on the nerve at the opening between two vertebrae. This type of nerve entrapment can also be a cause of the pain.

The Symptoms of Sciatica

Lower lumbar pain radiating from the buttocks and down the back of the leg is the primary symptom of sciatica. This is the most common path that the pain takes, but can occur anywhere along the sciatic nerve pathway. Pain levels can vary in intensity. Mild symptoms include a dull ache. Extreme symptoms include sharp, burning sensations or excruciating pain. Sciatica can also feel like a jolt or electric shock. Symptoms can also be aggravated by coughing or sneezing and by prolonged sitting. In most cases, pain is usually on one side of the body.

The Treatment of Sciatica

Chiropractors are specifically trained to identify and treat sciatica pain in a gentle and effective manner. Chiropractors will engage your body in a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle and chiropractic care to help relieve your sciatica pain.

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