What is Sciatica?

"The pain may hit suddenly like a lightning bolt or it may cause a constant nagging ache, deep within your hip and buttock area." This common condition affects more than 3 million people each year in the United States. Chances are, you may never experience anything quite as painful in your entire life. Sciatica sufferers say it's like having an excruciating toothache in the leg. You don't have to suffer needlessly from sciatic pain and you shouldn't depend on medication to get the relief you're looking for. Medication only masks or covers up the symptoms; they can't correct your structural problem.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term that refers to the painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body that starts from your low back and ends at your toes. Your sciatic nerve is formed from 5 nerve roots in your lower back, which join together deep in your pelvis. From there, the sciatic nerve divides into many branch nerves that control your muscles, joints, skin and other tissues in your legs and feet.

What causes your sciatic pain?

  1. Improper lifting
  2. Cumulative spinal stress
  3. Sudden impact or trauma
  4. Old injury
  5. Lack of exercise
  6. Over exertion

The results are often the same; spinal misalignments or subluxations. Subluxations can occur following a car accident, a fall, a sports injury, being over weight, ... or even from abnormal imbalances and muscular weaknesses from sitting all day can. If left uncorrected, subluxations can cause the opening between your vertebrae to narrow and compress, irritating and stretching your nerves. Sciatica can often be traced to one or more misaligned vertebra. The most common cause of sciatica is an irritation of nerve roots as they exit from your spine. Eventually, damaged nerves can restrict your joint movement, which interferes with the transport of lubrication to your discs.  When unhealthy discs dry out, this causes the gel-like center to bulge out or herniate. The bulging or herniated disc matter can press against your sciatic nerve, causing further irritation. Irreversible damage may occur if the nerve interference is not removed. That's where chiropractic comes in!

The goal of chiropractic is to locate the specific misaligned vertebrae and remove the resulting nerve irritation. Gentle chiropractic spinal adjustments can correct the underlying cause of your sciatica. Early sciatic pain is often so mild that most people ignore it altogether. Prompt chiropractic care can help prevent sciatica or stop its progression. A 2006 study published in Spine found that manipulations (adjustments) helped relieve pain due to acute back pain and sciatica. A recent Canadian study, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, found that 90% of its patients reported improvement with chiropractic care that were experiencing low back pain and radiating leg pain or numbness. Whenever possible, opt for conservative treatments over more invasive and drastic measures, such as surgery. Chiropractic care and adjustments are a viable option for treating the pain and symptoms associated with sciatic nerve issues.

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