What is Sciatica?
Sciatica pain is a symptom of other issues, not the actual problem. It is an irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, often caused by disc issues. Although there are a number of different issues that can cause sciatica. Sciatica is generally felt on just one side of the body and is often referred to as searing or sharp as opposed to throbbing or aching. While sciatica is often caused by back-related issues, it is not actually back pain. However, if you are suffering from back pain, take a look here for how we can help you!
Sciatica symptoms are felt in the:
- Back of the thigh, down to the calf
- Even the toes!
Generally, sciatica symptoms include:
Factors that increase your chances of developing sciatica pain:
- Being overweight
- Jobs that involve carrying heavy things or twisting often
- Sitting for long periods of time, often at desk jobs
The Sciatic Nerve Pain
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest in the human body. Even longer and wider than the spine! It is made up of 5 different nerves that exit the spinal column at different points in the lower back. This nerve innervates, or causes sensations and strengthens the leg.
Depending on which nerve is being impaired, different parts of the buttocks, leg, or foot can feel discomfort. This pain is actually being caused by pressure on the nerve, so the problem isn’t the nerve, it is whatever is pressing on it.
Conditions that cause sciatica:
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Arthritis of the back
Remember! Sciatica is caused by an issue in your back or pelvis, and is a symptom, not a diagnosis!
There are a number of different kinds of treatments for sciatica, almost all depending on the root cause. At Integrated Physical Medicine, we believe in non-surgical approaches whenever possible.
Some non-invasive treatments include:
Heat will reduce the muscle tension and spasms that may be impinging on the sciatic nerve. This is a simple treatment that can alleviate pain.
Adding a cold pack to the lower back can reduce swelling & numb the sciatic nerve.
Chiropractors at Integrated Physical Medicine can reduce sciatica by adjusting spinal structures to a more comfortable position and remove pressure from the sciatic nerve & lower spine.
Sciatic nerve pain can be reduced by acupuncture. Inserting needles precisely into the right locations can cause an increase in endorphin production and cause muscle relaxation in the local area.
Sciatic nerve pain can be alleviated by massage therapy in a couple of different ways. Unnecessarily tight muscles can pinch or irritate the sciatic nerves and massage therapy can reduce this tightness. A good massage also assists in the release of endorphins. These hormones can reduce both burning and throbbing pains caused by sciatica.
Exercise & Weight Loss
Exercise will strengthen and rehabilitate the back muscles and spinal structures which can reduce lumbar spine and sciatic nerve pain.