What is sciatica? How do I get rid of it?

What is sciatica? How do I get rid of it?

Sciatica is probably one of the top reasons that someone comes into our office.  We see people with it every day!  What is sciatica & what causes it?   If you have it how do you get rid of it?

First, sciatica usually refers to pain from a pinched or irritated sciatic nerve.  The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in your body.  It is composed of nerve roots of the last few lumbar vertebrae and they merge together to form the sciatic nerve.  The nerve travels out of the pelvis through a notch in the pelvis right in your buttocks.  It then travels down the back and side of the leg all the way down to the toes.  The sciatic nerve provides nerve supply to the skin and muscles in your buttocks and all the way to the foot.  

Sciatica is the term that is used to describe irritation of this nerve.  The pain it causes can be very different for everyone.  The most common pain is where you feel aching and dull pain in the buttocks that then radiates down the back of the leg.  It will either stop at the knee or go past the knee into the calf and foot.  It is very common to have numbness and tingling in the leg, calf and foot when you have sciatica.   There are some very strange presentations as well.  I have seen patients with pain in the buttocks then tightness in the hamstring and calf and numbness in the foot.  I have seen the pain ‘jump around’ in different parts of the leg.  Sciatica is most commonly in just one side but it can present in both legs in more severe cases.  

What causes sciatica?

When you understand that the pain is caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve then there are really only a few things that can cause this irritation.  They consist of:

  • Misalignment of the pelvis or lumbar vertebrae causing irritation on the nerve
  • Herniated or bulging discs in the lumbar region
  • Muscle spasming in the hip that will impinge the sciatic nerve

Those are usually the 3 main causes of sciatica that we see.   

How do you treat it?   

THE most important thing you can do is to get an accurate diagnosis of why you are having the sciatica.  How long has it been going on?  Was there an injury or repetitive things you did or are doing that are causing it? 
Once we know what is causing the pain we can then design a treatment plan to get you better.  

Obviously one of the best things you can do is to get chiropractic treatment.  By aligning your spine and pelvis it can alleviate a lot of tension on the muscles spine and nerves and can eliminate sciatica quickly.

If your pain is caused by a herniated disc then spinal decompression treatment is very effective.  Spinal decompression is a treatment that gently stretches your spine apart, ‘decompressing’ the discs.  When this happens the herniation is able to be reduced and the pressure and pain it causes is eliminated.  

Lastly if the pain is caused by muscle injury or spasming then massage therapy combined with chiropractic is the most effective treatment. 

If you have sciatica or think you have sciatica call our office to schedule an appointment.  We will evaluate you and determine if you have sciatica, what is causing it and what will be the best treatment to get you back to normal life as quickly as possible.  Call now to schedule 801-492-9300.

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