If you are experiencing a shooting, piercing pain that runs from the lower back down to the legs, you are probably suffering from sciatica pain. In this article we review standard methods used by chiropractor for sciatica pain.
The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It’s about the thickness of a thumb. It begins in the lower back and extends to the foot. When a person has sciatica, it’s a sign that the nerve is compressed. Approximately 40% of the population will experience sciatica in their lifetime.
What Causes Sciatica?
Lumbar herniated disc
Research suggests that up to 90% of sciatica is caused by a lumbar herniated disc.3 The herniated disc typically compresses one or more spinal nerve roots (L4-S3) that form the sciatic nerve.
A lumbar herniated disc can cause sciatica in two ways:
- Direct compression. Direct compression of the sciatic nerve can occur when a lumbar disc bulges (contained-disc-disorder) or when the soft inner material of the disc leaks out or herniates through the fibrous outer core (non-contained disc disorder) and presses against the nerve.
- Chemical inflammation. An acidic chemical irritant from the disc material (hyaluronan) may leak out and cause inflammation and irritation in the area around the sciatic nerve.
Can Chiropractor Relieve Sciatica Pain?
Sciatic pain is often described as sharp and severe. Some people report feeling tingling, numbness and burning in their back, hips, and leg pain. Drug free chiropractic care can identify what area of the back is causing compression on the sciatic nerve, and do a chiropractic adjustment to remove the nerve interference. This helps identify the cause of the pain, instead of covering up the common symptoms of sciatica with pain medications.
The primary purpose of chiropractic treatments is to realign the vertebrae in your spine to to ease what putting pressure on the nerves and promote a healthy nervous system. When the spine and other joints are properly aligned, and your nerves function as they should, your body’s biomechanics return to normal. This stops the production of neuropeptides, which can help reduce inflammation.
Chiropractic Methods For Treating Sciatica Includes:
- Chiropractic massage therapy: The chiropractic type of massage is an intense way of relieving the sciatica pain. It can induce deep muscles relaxation and release of endorphins that act as natural painkillers. While regular spa massage may release sore muscles and tension, chiropractic massage is more directed towards soothing and healing sciatica. Chiropractors have the knowledge in the whole musculoskeletal system of your body. They know how and where to apply pressure to ensure that the healing process kicks off.
- Heat and cold therapies: Alternating cold and heat therapy has been used by chiropractors to do wonders and provide quick relief from sciatica pain. Heat can release tight muscles and dull the agony away. The cold therapies will slow down the blood flow and help ease the symptoms of inflammation. The chiropractor understands which treatment is suitable for you, whether to use both and how often to alternate them.\
- Ultrasound and other modalities: Ultrasound is the gentle heat that’s generated by sound waves, which penetrates deep into the body’s tissues. It can improve circulation (promoting healing), lessens cramping, swelling, muscle spasms, and pain. Other modalities that a chiropractor can use to help ease with sciatica pain include low-level laser therapy also known as cold laser therapy. It enhances healing by reducing irritation, swelling or edema, and musculoskeletal pain. Furthermore, chiropractic can employ the TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit. This is a small, battery-powered nerve stimulating device that relaxes muscle spasms, increases endorphins, and reduces pain.
- Spinal decompression: Sometimes, the discs in your spine can dry out naturally and become thinner, resulting in pinched nerves and spine compression. As the name implies, chiropractors use spinal manipulation to relieve the compression of the nerves that’s causing sciatica pain. That can include techniques to lengthen the spine and enhance the space between the vertebrae.