Sciatica and Chiropractic Care
Sciatica, or sciatic neuritis, is a distracting pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve – beginning in the lower back and extending down one or both legs. Sciatica is often times not a condition on its own, yet a symptom of another medical problem.
Therefore, it is important to really determine the root of what may be causing this type of discomfort. Usually sciatica is caused by any amount of trauma, affecting one or more discs to bulge or any irritation of the root(s) of the lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine. Nearby nerves are then affected, causing inflammation.
These causes may seem a bit extreme to some, however it is important to note that some additional common causes of sciatica, include: being overweight, not exercising regularly, wearing high heels, sleeping on mattress that are too soft and, in some cases, pregnancy..
Symptoms of sciatica may include lower back pain, buttock pain, numbness or weakness in various parts of the leg and foot, and/or a shooting pain making difficult to walk or stand up. The level of pain varies from person to person – from infrequent and irritating to quite severe and debilitating. Simple movements such as coughing or sneezing lead to excruciating pain for some people dealing with sciatica.
Regardless of the level of pain, there ARE solutions and routes to recovery.
Sciatica symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, made up of isolated nerve roots that branch out from the spine in the lower back. When the nerve becomes pinched (by a herniated disc or overgrowth of bone) on your vertebrae, sciatica is likely to occur.
Common causes of sciatica include: herniated disc (or slipped disc), degenerative disc disease (weakened discs resulting in excessive micro-motion at the spinal level), Isthmic spondylolistheis (condition when a small stress fracture allows vertebral body to slip forward, causing pinched nerves), lumbar spinal stenosis (causes narrowing of the spinal canal), piriformis syndrome (piriformis muscle in the buttock gets irritated or pinches a nerve root comprising the sciatic nerve), and Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (irritation of the sacroiliac joint, located at the bottom of the spine).
In rare instances, the sciatic nerve might be aggravated by a tumor.