Sciatica is often described as a pain that originates in the lower back or buttock and travels into one or both legs. Numerous studies link lower-limb amputation—particularly above-knee amputation—to the sciatic nerve's hypertrophy or increase in size, leading to sciatica. The good news is that chiropractic intervention can relieve sciatica pain.
Chiropractors regularly treat patients with sciatica using various chiropractic treatments. Sciatica is generally caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body, passing in the buttock and down the thigh's back to the sole.
The pain can vary in frequency and intensity and may include sensations like tingling, burning, and numbness. When the sciatic nerve is blocked, it can result in the paralysis of a limb or group of muscles and a general loss of feeling in the body.
While sciatica is often misconstrued as a disorder, it is actually a symptom.
Aside from lower-limb amputation, sciatica can also be caused by spinal disorders that lead to slipped discs and spinal dislocation. Pregnancy and childbirth are also common causes of sciatica, as well as severe constipation, diabetes, and even regularly sitting on a bulging pocket wallet.
Since various disorders can cause sciatica, chiropractors will determine the cause first before proceeding to a treatment plan or referring the patient to another specialty doctor. Diagnostic tests may include a CT scan, MRI, or an x-ray.
Chiropractic treatments are designed to assist in the body's potential to heal itself. Treatments are based on the scientific principle that pain and reduced function are caused by restricted spinal movement.
Therapies depend on the cause of sciatica. Below are some of the standard treatment options used on patients with sciatica.
Ice or cold therapy
This is meant to reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the pain.
Gentle heat from the ultrasound is used to penetrate deep into the muscles. Ultrasound treatments can help reduce muscle stiffness, swelling, spasms, and cramping. It also increases circulation and decreases sciatic pain.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS utilizes various electrical current intensities to reduce muscle spasms and manage acute pain. TENS units are used not only by chiropractors but also by physical therapists and other rehab professionals.
Spinal adjustment or manipulation is the soul of chiropractic care. This technique helps restore a misaligned spine to its proper position. Chiropractors also use spinal adjustments to reduce nerve irritability that causes inflammation, muscle spasms, pain, and other symptoms related to sciatica.