Sciatica is an irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is generally a result of the nerve becoming pinched in the lower lumbar area. Pain from sciatica is persistent, and can range from mild to severe.
Sciatica and Abdominal Pain
The sciatic nerve runs all the way down the legs, and as a result, pain from sciatica can be experienced anywhere from the lower back to the buttocks and down the legs. However, some people experience sciatica in different areas of their body, including in the stomach. People who have this problem may experience pain in the abdomen periodically or consistently.
Sciatica and Loss of Bowel Control
Occasionally it happens that sciatica turns into a medical emergency. The condition, known as cauda equina syndrome, is a condition that occurs when the nerve sac in the lower spine becomes compressed. This compression can lead to problems like:
- loss of bowel control
- crippling stomach pain
- progressive weakness and numbness in the crotch, hip and other areas
This condition is very uncommon, but when it does occur, it’s a medical emergency. If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately.
Sciatica Treatments and Therapies
Fortunately, chiropractic care can treat sciatica before it reaches this stage. If you have sciatica, your chiropractor can help in the following ways:
- Spinal manipulation: This technique is the most powerful method of treatment chiropractic care has to offer. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to gently realign the vertebrae of the spine and reduce pressure on the joints in the spinal column. Spinal manipulation restores balance to the body and reduces pain from subluxations. For people experiencing pain along their sciatic nerve, spinal manipulation can help relieve the pain and prevent the problem from becoming worse.
- Massage therapy: Massage therapy is used to relax the muscles of the back and other areas of the body, thus increasing blood flow around injured areas, helping them to heal more quickly. For sciatica, massage therapy helps patients by relaxing and loosening muscles that have become short and tight from pain.
- Stretches and exercises: Chiropractors teach patients how to perform stretches and exercises that reduce or eliminate pain from sciatica. Stretches and exercises can help patients keep the spine in alignment after the chiropractor has already realigned the vertebrae of the spine. Stretches and exercises can also help strengthen muscles, thus preventing further injury.
- Lifestyle advice: Chiropractors teach their patients how to avoid problematic behaviors and how to assume positions that help manage the pain. For example, if you are experiencing sciatica pain, your chiropractor may tell you to:
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach
- Treat muscle spasms with heat or ice
- Sleep on a firm mattress
- Sleep on your side with your knees bent
- Avoid crossing your legs when sitting
For more information about how you can manage pain from sciatica and avoid problems or complications from this condition, talk to your chiropractor. If you live in the Pittsburgh area and would like to have your sciatica treated by an experienced professional, contact Choice Chiropractic. We treat patients with sciatica on a regular basis and have a lot of valuable experience with this condition. We’ll be happy to manage and reduce your pain.