Chiropractic As A Treatment Option For Sciatica

Last updated on November 23, 2022

Sciatica refers to the irritation (or even compression) of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels down the back of the leg and irritation can cause electrical pain, numbness, tingling or even in severe cases weakness along this path. The pain will generally originate in the lower back area, travel into the gluteal area then continue on down the posterior portion of the leg to the foot [1].

Ways To Describe Sciatica

Sciatica can be described a number of ways, some examples are (although not limited to)

  • Shooting
  • Sharp
  • Electrical
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness of muscles innervated by the sciatic nerve

Causes Of Sciatica

The exact cause is very specific to the individual as well as if the cause was traumatic, meaning the area was injured or non-traumatic referring to gradual degenerative changes as a result of our lifestyle that appeared randomly one day [1]. 

More commonly sciatica is caused by, although again not limited to:

  • Disc injuries leading to impingement of the nerve
  • Bony growth relating to osteoarthritis 
  • Muscle dysfunction 
  • Functional abnormalities 
  • Postural distortions
  • Pregnancy

Symptoms Of Sciatica

Sciatica can occur in a single leg or down both legs at the same time. Exact symptoms are very much dependent on where the nerve is irritated as well as the structure responsible for the irritation. As mentioned above, pain will generally start in the low back area, travel into the gluteal area then continue on down the posterior portion of the leg to the foot [1]. 

 

Inflammation as a result of the sciatic nerve irritation can often lead to an increase in the individuals discomfort 

 

Symptoms relating to the sciatic nerve can be made exacerbated by a number of activities and lifestyle influences including prolonged standing, prolonged sitting, exercise, bending or even coughing or sneezing due to the increase of pressure in the abdominal cavity [1].

Types Of Sciatica

Sciatica can be categorised as:

  • Chronic sciatica – suffering for over 3 months. 
  • Acute sciatica – this being very short lasting sciatica and using resolves with the appropriate treatment within a small time frame
  • Unilateral – symptoms in only one leg
  • Bilateral – symptoms in both legs 
  • Piriformis syndrome – compression of the sciatic nerve relating to tightness of the piriformis muscle (glute area)

HOW CHIROPRACTORS HELP WITH SCIATICA:

Chiropractic is a great non-invasive and natural treatment modality for sciatica. Chiropractors can adjust the spine and nervous system in a specific way aimed at restoring spinal function and movement, consequently reducing the amount of pressure present on the disc, nerve passage as well as the sciatic nerve itself [2].

This information is general in nature and does not constitute as medical advice

Sources

[1] Euro U, Heliövaara M, Shiri R, Knekt P, Rissanen H, Aromaa A, Karppinen J. Work-related risk factors for sciatica leading to hospitalization. Sci Rep. 2019 Apr 25;9(1):6562. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-42597-w. PMID: 31024023; PMCID: PMC6484005.

 

[2] Danazumi MS, Bello B, Yakasai AM, Kaka B. Two manual therapy techniques for management of lumbar radiculopathy: a randomized clinical trial. J Osteopath Med. 2021 Feb 26;121(4):391-400. doi: 10.1515/jom-2020-0261. PMID: 33705612.

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