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Sciatica

People suffering Sciatica are often in their 40s and 50s; it normally begins with a sharp, sudden pain in the lower back then progresses down the back of the leg. The pain is exacerbated with sitting and improved on standing.

The sciatic nerve is made up of the smaller nerve that exit from your lumbar spine. It is common in cases of sciatica for these small nerves to get pinched by the disc that acts as a shock absorber between the spinal bones. While a disc can’t “slip” it can bulge, herniate or rupture and in doing so put direct pressure on to these smaller nearby nerves.

The result? Swelling, inflammation and pain.

These symptoms are potentially worsened when coughing or sneezing, which could help with the diagnosis, known as the Valsalva manoeuvre.

How do you get sciatica?

It’s easy to trace some spinal injury to an accident such as a car accident. Yet sciatica is normally the result of years of repetitive damage; years of bad posture, poor muscle tone, excess weight, to name a few. Even smoking can weaken the disc making them more vulnerable to damage.

Can chiropractic treatment cure sciatica?

Pain killers or muscle relaxants are unable to correct the nerve compression caused by a bulging disc and physiotherapy merely offers exercises which can exacerbate the pain initially. Surgery often involves cutting away disc tissue or removing bone to make room for the nerve.

Fortunately, sciatica often responds to safe, natural chiropractic care. The treatment involves adjustments to improve joint motion along with massage and acupuncture to relax the tight muscles. Following chiropractic care, many patients have reported that their symptoms have disappeared without drugs or surgery.

The length of chiropractic care for sciatic patients can normally span a few months. This is because the spinal neglect that has led to the sciatica in the first place often takes time to correct. But all is not lost! With continued chiropractic care patients have shown “before” and “after” images of their lower back disc height improving.

References

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  • Maxwell, T. D. (1978). The piriformis muscle and its relation to the long legged sciatic syndrome. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 22(2), 51.
  • McMorland, G., Suter, E., Casha, S., du Plessis, S. J., & Hurlbert, R. J. (2010). Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomized clinical study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 33(8), 576-584.
  • Orlin, J. R., & Didriksen, A. (2007). Results of chiropractic treatment of lumbopelvic fixation in 44 patients admitted to an orthopedic department.Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 30(2), 135-139.
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  • Santilli, V., Beghi, E., & Finucci, S. (2006). Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. The Spine Journal, 6(2), 131-137.
  • Stern, P. J., Cote, P., & Cassidy, J. D. (1995). A series of consecutive cases of low back pain with radiating leg pain treated by chiropractors. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 18(6), 335.
  • Tachihara, H., Kikuchi, S. I., Konno, S. I., & Sekiguchi, M. (2007). Does facet joint inflammation induce radiculopathy?: an investigation using a rat model of lumbar facet joint inflammation. Spine, 32(4), 406-412
  • Vroomen, P. C., de Krom, M. C., Wilmink, J. T., Kester, A. D., & Knottnerus, J. A. (1999). Lack of effectiveness of bed rest for sciatica. New England journal of medicine, 340(6), 418-423.