When one-quarter of your body simply fails to work as it should, creating a multitude of discomforts in the bargain, you're facing a serious threat to your quality of life — the same threat faced by countless other individuals suffering from sciatica.
Sciatica's Causes and Telltale Signs
Technically, sciatica isn't a medical condition at all; it's a symptom (or set of symptoms) related to impingement of the body's largest nerve. The sciatic nerve is a thick, cable-like nerve issuing from several lumbar and sacral nerve roots. This nerve passes through the piriformis (a muscle in the buttocks) and down the back of the leg, branching along the way into all the smaller nerves that route impulses and sensations through the leg, ankle, foot and toes.
Big nerves can create big problems. When the nerve or any of its nerve roots is pinched or otherwise interfered with, it can throw out all kinds of faulty, incomplete and/or disturbing signals at any point along its neural network. Herniated and bulging discs are often the cause of the impingement, along with spinal stenosis (spinal canal narrowing) or simple spinal misalignment caused by poor posture or weak muscle support. Unbalanced posture can also cause the piriformis muscle to go into spasm, which in turn pinches the sciatic nerve. Sciatica symptoms, which may vary depending on the point of impingement, include:
Sharp, burning or "electric" pain sensations running through the buttock or leg
Lower back pain
Tingling or loss of sensation in the leg or foot
Problems with leg/foot muscle control
Your symptoms may get worse when you sit down, cough or sneeze.
Conservative Treatment Solutions
Sciatica tends to come and go -- but it won't stay away until you find and fix what's causing it. Fortunately, as many as 90 percent of sciatica cases don't require surgery. Our chiropractors, Dr. Mark J. Freund and Dr. Gopaul, can evaluate your spinal alignment and diagnose disc problems, degenerative spinal conditions, subluxation or other underlying causes of sciatic nerve impingement. We can then treat your condition with:
Chiropractic adjustments to restore normal spinal and disc alignment, taking pressure off the nerve roots
Manual therapy to relieve muscles spasms that may be pinching the sciatic nerve
Physical therapy to help you strengthen the muscles that support good spinal alignment
Lifestyle advice such as workplace ergonomics to help you maintain optimal posture all day long