Sciatica is the persistent pain felt along the sciatic nerve, the body’s longest, widest nerve. It runs from the lower back, down through the buttock, and into the lower leg. It controls the lower leg’s muscles and provides sensation to the thighs, legs, and soles of the feet.
Sciatica is a relatively common cause of low-back and leg pain. It’s actually a set of symptoms, rather than simply an irritated nerve. It typically develops as a result of general wear on the structures of the lower spine, rather than from injury. It occurs most often in people ranging in age from 30 to 50.
The most common sciatica symptom is pain radiating along the path of the sciatic nerve down one leg. But other symptoms can include a mild tingling; a dull ache or burning, typically on one side of the body; pins-and-needles sensations, often in the toes or foot; numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot.
Sciatic pain can intensify over time. The pain can also worsen after prolonged sitting, sneezing, coughing, bending, or other sudden movements.
Binder Family Chiropractic can diagnose sciatica by getting a history of your pain, and determining what activities less or intensify the pain. A full diagnosis requires a physical and neurological exam, focusing on the legs. Diagnostic imaging may be used to rule out a more serious condition.
Conservative chiropractic care has shown great effectiveness for most people. Treatment plans often depend on the different possible causes of the sciatica. Chiropractic treatment could include spinal adjustments, ice/heat therapy, ultrasound, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and rehabilitative exercises.
You can discuss the prevention of sciatica with your chiropractor. Techniques include a healthy diet and appropriate weight; regular exercise; proper posture through chiropractic care; avoiding prolonged inactivity or bed rest; cessation of smoking; using good body mechanics when lifting.