Pain as a Roadblock
Are you letting your sciatic pain determine how you live your life? I have found that many people are unable to do the things that they enjoy because of sciatica. Very commonly a sciatic nerve problem is left untreated in the hopes that if someone waits long enough it will “just go away”. Sometimes the waiting goes on and on and the pain never seems to let up. If you are one of these people, or if you know one of these people, I hope that by the end of this article you will decide that you’ve waited long enough and that you’re ready to get it fixed and get on with living your life!
What Is the Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It is made up of the nerve roots of the L3, L4, L5 area as well as nerves that come from the Sacrum. These roots come out of the spine, join together to form the sciatic nerve, and run along the buttocks, back of the thigh, knee, calf, and then end in the foot and toes.
How Sciatica Occurs
The term “sciatica” is used to describe a set of symptoms that results when the sciatic nerve is irritated. Most commonly patients with sciatica will report feeling pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or spasm in the buttock, thigh, calf or leg. Frequently sciatica is experienced in conjunction with low back pain although sciatica may occur with no back pain at all. The sciatic pain may interrupt sleep or affect activities such as driving, lifting, shopping, sports, or even walking.
Most commonly sciatica is caused by misalignment of the pelvis, sacrum, or lumbar vertebra. This misalignment can be caused by a fall, injury, back strain, pregnancy, repetitive motion stress, and improper lifting. Sciatic symptoms can also be caused by a bulging disc. Chiropractors are the only doctors trained to correct misalignments in the spinal bones that may cause sciatica.
Common medical treatments include medication, heat, ice, and exercise. Though medications may help to decrease the pain associated with this condition temporarily, they essentially only “cover-up” the symptoms and do not correct the problem. Heat may feel good when applied but can result in additional swelling, pain, and stiffness.
Chiropractic treatment of sciatic pain includes adjustments (to correct alignment), therapies, and exercises. The chiropractic adjustment helps to decrease the pressure on the nerve and restore it back to normal function. The therapies and exercise can help to speed up the healing process.