Sciatic pain is one of the most common conditions encountered in Chiropractic offices each year. Sciatica is a condition that can have a variety of symptoms and causes, which we will discuss, yet commonly it will lead to pain in the back and legs. It occurs when pain travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. If left untreated, very few sufferers will find long-term relief as sciatica carries with it a high probability of becoming a chronic condition.


Patients often describe the pain of sciatica as ranging from a slight discomfort to the most extreme unbearable pain imaginable. Sciatic pain can show up in different areas of the leg and foot, and many times the pain will come and go. Sciatic symptoms may vary from a hot pain in the buttock or leg, ankle or foot pain, pins and needles, increased pain when coughing, lifting or sneezing and sciatica does have the potential to cause the loss of power in the muscles of the leg and foot. Over the years, people tend to go through periods of pain that typically intensify if the problem goes untreated.


The pelvic and lumbar spine are usually the sources for sciatic issues. These areas of the spine are very complicated, and it is this region of the spine that takes the most punishment from movement and from poor postures associated with prolonged time sitting and whole body vibration. It can be difficult to locate the problem. 


Some patients say that all they did was bend over to pick up a piece of paper and they were hit with extreme pain. They don’t understand how an easy task caused them so much pain. What they don’t realize is that their condition was probably developing for the past few years, and bending to pick up that piece of paper just happened to be the last straw. With the exception of the most severe spinal problems, back issues don’t happen overnight, they build up over years of time.


When investigating sciatica, many of the traditional imaging modalities are beneficial. The vast majority of health care providers would suggest starting with an x ray before possibly exploring further with the use of a CT scan on MRI. 


Care options for sciatica range from self care at home, exercise, conservative care with an allied health professional, anti inflammatory or pharmaceutical relief and finally surgery. Of course, in our biased perspective, all conservative, drug free, non surgical options should be explored thoroughly before jumping into the pharmaceutical or surgical rabbit hole. The amount of people that end up with back surgery is staggering, and the low success rate is disappointing. It’s estimated that back surgery is only about 15% effective within a five-year time frame.


From a home perspective, resting but not prolonged rest combined with gentle movement is often quite effective. Stretching can also be of benefit and there are some stretches you may like to try here. If you can move, it is suggested that you do as you will always heal quicker if you stay mobile. A heat pack or warm baths may also provide a good option and many people find relief with short distances of swimming or even walking in the water. 


By consulting with a Chiropractor, they are highly trained and qualified to help you zero in on the source of sciatica and suggest a care plan for you. The Chiropractic benefit is that they will focus on the spine, pelvis and discs that may be effecting Sciatica. This in turn helps to relax the spasmed and tense muscles. Physiotherapy and Massage therapy are both useful for Sciatica too as they too help to relax the supportive muscles.


Treatment length can vary significantly from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the problem, the nature of the injured and involved tissues and the health of the individual.  Some people respond very quickly while others take more time to recover. If your sciatica is mainly caused by a muscular nerve entrapment, then this healing time is significantly quicker than if it were caused due to arthritis, degeneration or disc pathology. 


It really depends on the condition of the disc or the joints that needs to heal.In most cases, the longer the issue persists, the longer it will take to achieve correction. The great news is that it typically takes less time to resolve it than it took to create it.


If you’re serious about resolving your sciatica problems, call our team at Transitions Chiropractic today to set up a consultation.