The term Sciatica can include a number of different resulting conditions all stemming from a root cause. Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain caused by general compression and/or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots, or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. Sciatica is a symptom, not a disorder.
Sciatica, so called because it involves the sciatic nerve, is a common cause of lower back pain. The sciatic nerve is actually a group of nerves held together by one nerve sheath, that runs from the lower back through the buttocks and thigh to the knee, then spiraling down into the foot. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body. You are most likely to get sciatica between the ages of 30 and 50 years.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Additional common causes of sciatica include:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of one or more areas in your spine, most often your lower or upper back.
- Degenerative disc disease which involves a breakdown of discs which act as cushions between the vertebrae
- Spondylolisthesis where one vertebra slips forward over another one
- Piriformis Syndrome- The piriformis muscle starts at your lower spine and connects to each thighbone (femur). Piriformis syndrome occurs when the muscle becomes tight or goes into spasms, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Prolonged sitting, car accidents and falls can contribute to piriformis syndrome.
- Trauma – A car accident, fall or blow to your spine can injure the lumbar or sacral nerve roots.
How Can Sciatica Be Treated?
Depending on the cause of the sciatica, Dr. Singer will recommend one or more of the following chiropractic treatments:
- X-ray for diagnostic purposes.
- Chiropractic manipulative therapy – Since the sciatic nerve pain occurs when there is pressure from the vertebrae on the sciatic nerve, spinal manipulation can help to relieve this pressure and realign the vertebrates to their proper place – freeing the previous restricted movement of the spinal column.
- Electric STIM Therapy – Nerve stimulation can be highly effective in treating sciatica.
- Ultrasound – Ultrasound produces sound waves, which in turn creates a soothing heat that penetrates the body’s tissues. Since ultrasound treatment does increase the circulation in the body, it is effective at reducing sciatic nerve pain, muscle pains, swelling and more.
- Massage – Deep tissue massage can relieve muscle tightness and increase circulation to painful areas.
- Kinesio taping to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Hydromassage to relax the muscles.
If you suffer from sciatica, stop by or call Dr. Singer at USA Health and Therapy in Oakland Park to schedule an appointment today. Regular chiropractic treatments can promote health, healing, wellness and well-being.