The sciatic nerve is the largest peripheral nerve in the body. It starts at the pelvis and goes through the buttocks and along each side of the spinal column to just below the knee. Sciatica is a pain that shoots down one side of your leg from your back or hip area to your foot, often after a bump or injury near this area. Sciatica can cause pain that ranges from mild to severe. It can also be caused by poor posture, cancer, stroke, and more serious neurological problems.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica (or radiculopathy) is a common cause of lower back and buttock pain. The sciatic nerve runs down each leg from the lower part of your spine. A herniated disc can pinch your sciatic nerve and cause radiating pain down the leg, often described as feeling like an electric shock or a heavy weight on the foot or buttock. Sciatica is common in people between 30-50 years of age. Another condition that sometimes mimics sciatica is piriformis syndrome (also known as piriformis spasm). The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks and connects your hipbone to your femur bone just below the knee joint.
Give it time:
Sciatica usually subsides within a few days or weeks. If you have sciatica, don’t try to “push through.” Treating the problem early and giving the body time to heal is always better than ignoring it and letting it get worse.
How can chiropractic care help?
Physiotherapy is often all that is needed to treat sciatica. Your chiropractor may treat your lower back and buttock muscles tightening up the area where they attach to your spine and surrounding nerves. It would help if you visited a professional like Active Edge Chiropractic & Functional Medicine to get proper treatment. Your chiropractor may also recommend stretching exercises and sometimes heat therapy.
Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants. These can help loosen up your back muscles and ease tension on your sciatic nerve. Your doctor may also prescribe NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and inflammation. However, they can sometimes worsen the pain, so use them cautiously until you know how they affect you.
Ask for a prescription:
If you feel symptoms of sciatica returning, ask your doctor whether they will refer you to a pain clinic. Unfortunately, not all specialists can prescribe the medication you need. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a physiotherapist who can show and explain how to stretch, strengthen and improve your posture and movement patterns to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Watch out for tension:
It’s important to stay active while recovering from sciatica, but it’s also good to pay attention to any tightness or tension that can get in the way of getting better. For example, if you feel ‘tight’ on one side of your back or hip, ask your doctor about muscle-strengthening techniques that could help.
When one suffers from sciatica, it is essential to be aware of the underlying causes and symptoms of the condition. In most cases, sciatica or radiculopathy is caused by a disc herniation in the lumbar area. During the body’s normal function, all joints need an adequate suspension system that absorbs shock and maintains joint stability.