Dr. Brian Yodice - Chiropractic and Sports Injury Management
Sciatica refers to back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. This is a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. When something injures or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain in the lower back that spreads to the hip, buttocks, and leg.
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it's especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.
The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.
Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.
Chiropractic care for Sciatica:
* Ice/Cold Therapy reduces inflammation and helps control sciatic pain.
* Ultrasound is gentle heat created by sound waves that penetrates deep into tissues. It increases circulation and reduces muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness, and pain.
* Adjustments (Spinal Manipulations). Spinal adjustments are at the core of Chiropractic care. Manipulation frees restricted movement of the spine and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spine. Adjustment techniques vary from a swift high velocity thrust to those that combine minimal force and gentle pressure. Mastery of each technique is an art that requires great skill and precision. Spinal manipulation is the treatment that differentiates chiropractic care from other medical disciplines.
* Exercise/Stretching Stretching and/or exercise can encourage tight muscles to loosen up. Promoting flexibility through stretching and strength through exercise can ease sciatic pain by improving lower back support and improving core strength. This way, less pressure is placed on the backs of the legs where the sciatic nerve resides.
* Topical Ointments Rather than pain relievers taken orally, many sciatica patients prefer to apply a topical pain relieving ointment directly to the inflamed area. These pain relieving gels (usually called analgesics) often contain menthol, an ingredient that blocks pain receptors and relaxes stiff muscles.