Sciatica is not a mystery condition, but its symptoms can, on occasion, be somewhat mysterious. Sciatic pain ranges from mild discomfort to a sharp, dagger-like sensation that appears suddenly and can end just as quickly. Occasionally, the pain, which can extend from the lower back through the buttocks and radiate down each leg along the path of the sciatic nerve, causes only a dull ache in the upper thigh, a sharp pain around the knee and a numbness or tingling sensation nearer the foot. The pain can make sleeping impossible and sitting uncomfortable. Movement often does not ease the discomfort. Usually, only one side of the body is affected; infrequently, the pain may "travel" from one leg to the other.
What Causes Sciatica?
It is generally agreed that sciatica is caused by a herniated spinal disc or by a bone spur on specific vertebrae. The result is a pinched sciatic nerve, the largest and longest in the body. Occasionally, sciatic pain is caused by a tumor, or the nerve is damaged by another disease. Strain or injury to the piniformis muscle, located at the lower spine and connecting with the thigh bone, can also be a cause of sciatic pain. Acute trauma from a sports injury or automobile accident can trigger sciatic pain, and complications from diabetes may cause sciatic nerve pain. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers sometimes experience the radiating pain characteristic of sciatica in connection with joint inflammation.
Risk factors include aging and obesity, both of which cause spinal changes that contribute to disc damage. However, occupations that require heavy lifting and twisting or extended periods of sitting either in an automobile or at a desk are also cited as causal factors. There does seem to be an inherited tendency toward sciatica, and the condition can recur.
Mild cases of sciatica usually improve after about six weeks, even without treatment. Symptoms are treated with a wide variety of therapies, ranging from over the counter medications to surgery.
Treating Sciatica Pain the Right Way
There may be no single best way to alleviate sciatic pain, but there are a number of therapies that bring proven relief. Our chiropractor first tries to isolate the cause of the pain. Because sciatic pain is a symptom of another, underlying condition, is is important to determine the root cause. Our assessment will include a thorough examination, augmented by digital X-Ray if necessary to ascertain the location and extent of the condition that is causing your pain.
The next steps are to formulate a personalized treatment plan; that may include gentle spinal manipulation and massage, applications of heat or cold, an individualized set of exercises to perform on your own schedule and in your own home, and nutritional and dietary guidance. Our team will work with you to realize your personal wellness goals. We can also explore with you other options for pain relief, including acupuncture, yoga, herbal treatments, heat therapy, cold compresses, electrical therapies or topical liniments. We do not hesitate to recommend other specialists if necessary.
The cornerstone of our Bolingbrook chiropractic practice is our commitment to holistic healing. Won't you call us soon to explore options that will alleviate your sciatica pain? You have every right to look forward to a healthy pain-free future.
Call for your Appointment!