Sciatica is a common description that a lot of people use to describe pain that runs along the sciatic nerve, which in turn runs from your lower back through the buttocks and down into the leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest in your body, so sciatic pain can feel all-encompassing. Having said that, it’s important to note that sciatica is really a description of a set of symptoms and not really a diagnosis of what the root cause of the problem is. While symptoms vary from person to person, those who experience sciatica often report:
- Radiating pain along the path of the sciatic nerve
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in the leg or foot
- A tingling or “pins and needles” sensation in the affected foot or toes
Sciatica is a progressive syndrome and these painful symptoms often develop slowly, gradually increasing over time. Those who have been diagnosed with sciatica, frequently comment that their pain increases after long periods of sitting, or after a sudden movement.
For most people, the discomfort associated with sciatica is easily managed with Chiropractic treatment. Because it’s such a common condition, your Chiropractic team should have no problem getting right to work on your pain. They’ll take a complete history and ask you some questions like when your pain first started, how long it lasts, and what types of activity make it better or worse. A complete physical exam, with special attention paid to the spine and the legs will follow. Additionally, your Chiropractor may request additional scans like x-rays or an MRI to confirm the diagnosis.
Remember that sciatica is really a collection of symptoms and not a diagnosis. However, it’s an easily treatable condition, and one you shouldn’t have to learn to tolerate. Your Chiropractor will get to the bottom of what is causing you pain and will most likely treat you with a combination of adjustments, stretches, exercise, massage or other types of therapy to help treat your symptoms.
While it may not be possible to completely prevent sciatica, there are a few things that you can do to protect your spine and improve your overall health to help reduce your risk:
- Eat a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight
- Get an adequate amount of exercise
- Practice proper posture while sitting and standing
- Maintain an active lifestyle
- Quit smoking
- Lift with your legs, not with your back
If you or someone in your family is suffering from the symptoms of sciatica, be sure to seek out Chiropractic care, and don’t just mask the symptoms with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pills (NSAIDs). There are a variety of ways to treat your pain and get your life back on track, just ask your Chiropractic team how they can help.
Video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbZzeO4P9YA
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