All About Sciatica & Relieving Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatica hurts. It can start as a dull ache going from the lower back, through the behind and down through the legs. Sometimes it is a shocking, burning pain that makes walking, sitting or moving difficult. The pain typically comes from a pinched sciatic nerve , which is the longest nerve in the body. The pinching may have different reasons, and that’s where we come in.
Dr. Whitehead spends time testing each patient experiencing lower back pain and leg pain to find out what the underlying cause is before recommending a course of treatment. We offer our patients several treatments for relief from sciatica using noninvasive methods to combat the source of the problem. Once we know what the problem is, our Austin chiropractic staff can address the root cause of the pain.
What is Sciatica?
Unfortunately, sciatica is common and leads to pain and discomfort. Sciatica is a symptom of many conditions such as a herniated or slipped disc . The term "sciatica" refers to pain, numbness and tingling that run along the path of the sciatic nerve. The tingling and other uncomfortable issues associated with sciatica tend to begin in your lower back and may extend throughout your hips and buttocks. Sciatica will cause issues throughout your entire leg in some cases. Usually, if you have sciatica, you will only have symptoms on one side of your body.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The symptoms of sciatica depend on the severity of the pinched nerve. In most cases, you will notice pain, tingling or numbness in your lower back and upper legs. Generally, the discomfort spreads throughout the area and is more noticeable when standing or changing positions.
Although most cases of the problem result in discomfort and pain, it may also cause weakness throughout the area. You may notice the discomfort coming and going due to a minor problem or you may notice a consistent discomfort when the nerve is injured or pinched. You want to address the discomfort as soon as you notice the problem to avoid complications with your health.
Experiencing pain in your lower back or noticing any odd feelings in the lower extremities of your body may suggest a pinched nerve. The sciatic nerve, which is located in your lower back, runs down the upper portion of your legs and impacts your physical feeling in the area. When you develop sciatica due to an accident, poor posture or any other situation, it may require help from a chiropractor to address the problem.
Pinched Nerve Due to Sciatica
The pinched nerve could come from several different sources, but herniated or bulging lumbar discs are very common causes. It can also stem from something called Piriformis syndrome , however. If something is inflaming or causing the piriformis muscle to have spasms, this will also put painful pressure on the nerve. Misaligned vertebrae in the lower back can also cause this leg and back pain. Once Dr. Whitehead knows what the underlying cause is, she can help a patient get better by addressing it directly, through spinal adjustments and natural healing techniques-no surgery or medication.
Causes of Sciatica
In most cases, sciatica happens as a result of a herniated disc. A herniated disc occurs when the inner rubbery cushion inside of the disc begins to exit the center of the disc through a tear in the lining of the disc. The contents tend to aggravate the nearby nerves including the sciatic nerve.
Spinal stenosis may also cause sciatica. Spinal stenosis causes the passageway of the spine to narrow. As areas of the spine narrow, they cause irritation to nerves surrounding the spine. A bone spur, bone projections along the outside of the bone, on the spine will cause irritation to the nearby nerves including the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can cause sciatica. During the first trimester, you may notice you have sciatica because of your fluctuating hormone levels. Sciatica is possible in the third trimester as well. It occurs in the third trimester as a result of the baby placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic Pain Relief with Chiropractic
Chiropractic treatment for sciatica or related discomforts in your back and legs addresses the underlying cause of the pain. In most cases, the pain or discomfort stems from pressure on the nerve or injuries to the nerve. It may also relate to poor alignment of the spine in the area, which interferes with your body's natural communication system.
A chiropractor may uses decompression therapy, spinal adjustments and other appropriate treatments to improve your mobility and reduce the pain you experience.
Pain in your back does not necessarily mean you must use harsh medications or treatments. A natural treatment strategy allows you to address the discomfort by encouraging the healing process.
Chiropractic Treatment in Austin for Sciatica
At our clinic, we offer pain relief through natural treatment solutions. We provide a personalized treatment plan based on the cause of the discomfort and the specific situation.
Our chiropractor may use a spinal alignment to correct your sciatica. A spinal alignment consists of our chiropractor manually realigning the spine. It has the potential to take pressure off of the sciatic nerve.
We might also use spinal decompression to treat your sciatica. Spinal decompression consists of our chiropractor using a motorized traction device to slowly stretch the spine. You will be positioned on the table while the device gently pulls on your spine in order to relieve pressure in between the discs in the spine. It also helps to alleviate any pressure being applied to the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc.
Dr. Whitehead has trained extensively in several different spinal diagnosis and adjustment techniques, such as the Gonstead technique, the Thompson Terminal Point Technique and the Cox Flexion-Distraction Technique. If the problem is a bulging or herniated disc, we work to realign the spine and relieve the discs so that they heal and return to normal shape, which will relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve. If the problem is caused by muscle spasms, we can use soft tissue manipulation techniques and therapeutic exercises and stretches to relax the muscle and reduce inflammation. No matter what the cause of sciatic pain, our goal is to help our patients get back to pain-free living as quickly as possible.
Have Questions About Sciatica Treatment? Call Our Austin Chiropractor Now
Have you ever had a pinched sciatic nerve? What treatments helped you the most? For natural treatments for your sciatica pain and discomfort, contact our chiropractor at Whitehead Chiropractic, serving Austin, TX and the surrounding area, by contacting us at 512-451-0115 to schedule an appointment.