The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and runs down through the pelvis, through each hip and then branches into smaller nerves down each leg. Many of the movements in the thighs, calves, and feet are controlled by the sciatic nerve and its small branches, so any irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause pain and discomfort. Chiropractic care for sciatica can alleviate the pain and correct the underlying cause of sciatica.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve is irritated, damaged or compressed. It can cause several symptoms including tingling or numbness in the lower back, hip, and leg on the affected side. Sciatica can cause difficulty standing or sitting for long periods. It can be felt as sharp, stabbing pain down the legs, and can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated. Sometimes it’s alleviated by changing position.
What causes sciatica?
There are numerous causes of sciatica, including degenerative conditions of the spine such as herniated or bulging disc or a bone spur that presses on the sciatic nerve. Muscle tightness or other soft-tissue pressure on the sciatic nerve can irritate or damage the nerve causing sciatica. Traumatic injuries such as a pelvis fracture or damage to the muscles in the buttocks or hip can also cause sciatica. Pressure between the vertebra can lead to nerve entrapment and cause sciatic pain. And pregnancy is a common cause of sciatica because the changes in the body with the growth of the baby can irritate the nerve.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
The symptoms of sciatica range from numbness to a dull ache to sharp, burning sensations, and even excruciating pain that radiates down the hip and leg. It can feel like an electric shock or jolt, or even a dull ache. Sciatica can make moving a leg or foot difficult. Depending on where the sciatic nerve is being irritated, the pain might be felt in the foot and toes.
Some sufferers of sciatica will experience it continually, while it’s intermittent in others. Sciatic pain can change when the body changes position. For example, if the pain occurs during a period of prolonged sitting, it’s often alleviated by standing or walking. It’s most commonly felt on just one side of the body.
How is sciatica treated?
Chiropractic care for sciatica in West Bloomfield, MI., will include a full examination to determine where and why the sciatic nerve is being compressed or irritated. Your chiropractor will prescribe a treatment plan that includes stretches, strengthening exercises, and spinal manipulation to correct any imbalances or misalignment that is preventing the sciatic nerve from functioning correctly.