What many people don’t realize is that sciatica itself is not a disease; it is a symptom of another medical problem. Whenever symptoms of this condition are present in your body, not only do those symptoms need treatment, but there needs to be research into the underlying source of those symptoms.
At Wexford Wellness, we often see patients who come to us for back pain or tingling or numbness in the legs caused by sciatica and treat them appropriately, as well as begin to determine what could be causing these symptoms in the first place.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when there is damage to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve branches from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and then branches again down both legs. Damage to this nerve often results pain, burning, tingling or numbness in the lower back, legs, hips or buttocks, and it generally only affects one side of the body. In many cases, the pain can just be a mild nuisance, but for some, it can become severe and even debilitating.
Causes Of Sciatica
Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, more serious conditions that can commonly affect and cause inflammation of the sciatic nerve include:
- Herniated discs
- Bone spurs on the spine
- Pelvic injuries
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column)
When sciatica is infrequent and the discomfort is mild, it can be treated conservatively at home with over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Applying heat or ice to the affected area may also help reduce the pain and inflammation. Because heat can cause more inflammation, however, try using ice first, then apply heat if symptoms continue. This treatment can be used for several weeks. Alternative methods for treating mild to slightly severe cases of sciatica that persist for several weeks also include chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapy, which are all treatments we use at Wexford Wellness.
When treating sciatica, ourchiropractic care offers a more long-term solution to your pain. We are able to take x-rays and do testing on the affected areas to see the specific source of the pain, and we can then make a plan of what adjustments should be made. Because sciatica is often caused by issues in the spine, providing better spinal alignment through adjustments can be the proper solution to treating and ending your discomfort caused by sciatica.
At Wexford Wellness, we often suggest utilizing acupuncture in your chiropractic treatment. Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can actually relieve symptoms of sciatica directly. Approved by the FDA and National Institutes of Health as a treatment for back pain and related conditions, acupuncture is a positive natural treatment for decreasing sciatica symptoms and pain as opposed to using pain relievers and other medication.
Often already incorporated into our chiropractic treatment, massage therapy is helpful in reducing symptoms of sciatica. Painful outbreaks caused by sciatica can often be caused from the muscle fibers in the lower region of the body being too tight. By loosening these fibers, the pain is able to be decreased and can prevent future outbreaks from happening. Massage therapy also releases endorphins, which allow the body to naturally relieve some of the pain on its own.
If you try these methods of treatment and symptoms still continue to worsen and last longer than six to eight weeks, it is suggested that you seek further medical attention, which may result in more invasive treatment, such as surgery, to relieve pressure on the nerve.
If you are concerned that you may have symptoms of sciatica or a more serious condition associated with it, please complete our Ask The Doctor form located on this page. A member of the Wexford Wellness staff will contact you as soon as possible.