When the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, is compromised, pain,tingling, or numbness radiates through your lower back, leg, foot and sometimes even up to the shoulder. The problem with finding a good treatment for sciatica is that there are many causes, but chiropractic treatment can often provide relief.
What Causes Sciatica?
The pain and discomfort can result from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolithesis, or a pinched nerve. In addition, sciatica often results from scar tissue, muscle strain, spinal tumor, and infection.Even in pregnancy the baby can lie on the nerve and lead to extreme sciatic pain. While this wide array of causes has an equally wide number of treatment options, treatments such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy may even offer relief in situations where medical doctors recommend surgical intervention.
Before recommending treatment, a physician will rule out more serious conditions with similar symptoms, such as cauda equine, a serious bowel and bladder issue that may also cause severe back and leg pain.
How Chiropractors Approach Sciatic Pain
Chiropractic focuses on spinal adjustments and manual manipulation, with a goal of better aligning the spinal column. These treatments are increasingly regarded as a helpful treatment for lower back pain and are often recommended in the earliest stages of treatment.Focusing on abnormal vertebrae, the treatments aim to reduce nerve irritability, improve functioning, and increase range of motion.
Half of practitioners use a handheld Activator Adjusting Instrument as an alternative to manual manipulation methods. This device, called high velocity low amplitude (HVLA), provides a gentle impulse force to a joint or vertebrae. The advantage of this technology is that the device delivers its thrust so quickly that muscles do not have time to flex up and resist treatment. The force is localized and places no additional bending movement to the joint.
Complementing Chiropractic Treatment
While a chiropractor offers in-office treatment, he may recommend that you take ownership in your healing by doing exercises to stretch muscles and strengthen the lower back. Pelvic tilts, pulling the knees to the chest, and bending forward from a sitting positon are good if this position relieves lower back pain, while prone press up exercises are helpful to relieve leg pains. Other popular exercises concentrate on:
- Strengthening pelvic and trunk muscles
- Strengthening and stretching hamstrings, abductors, and other postural muscles that feel tight
- Increasing balance
Most chiropractors discourage the long-term use of drugs as a treatment measure for back pain; an occasional anti-inflammatory for acute pain can be helpful though. However, they do advocate the use of alternating cold packs to numb the area and heat packs to restore blood flow and promote healing. In addition, the doctor may suggest dietary changes to help with weight loss and may also suggest supplements after spinal manipulation sessions.
At Raintree Medical and Chiropractic Center, we help ease sciatic pain, but offer many other services for comprehensive spine care. For more information about our services, contact Raintree Medical and Chiropractic Center today at 816-623-3020 or request an appointment online.
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