Your sciatic nerve branches from your lower back through your hips, buttocks and down on each leg. The inflammation of that nerve, caused by a disk hernia, bone spur or spinal stenosis puts pressure on that nerve, causing what is called Sciatica.
Sciatica is caused by the inflammation and leads to pain and numbness in the affected area. And the most sciatica cases involve these symptoms in only one leg.
Most of the cases of mild sciatica can resolve on their own, but those that don’t can lead to chronic pain and muscle weakness.
Causes os Sciatica
As we said before, sciatica is a compression of the sciatic nerve. This compression can be caused by some spinal disorders, such as:
- Lumbar spinal subluxations;
- Herniated discs;
- Pregnancy and childbirth;
- Spinal tumors;
- Non-spinal disorders, like diabetes, constipations or sitting on one side;
- Degenerating discs.
But some of the causes are more rare, like conditions (diabetes) and tumors. But if you identify this kind of pain, seek medical attention as soon as possible to diagnose and treat the condition – even those underlying ones.
Another cause is having some “trigger points” in your muscles in the lower back, having them to be tight and that can cause sciatica.
There are a few risk factors that may lead to increase cases of sciatica:
- Age: the changes in the spine, like herniated discs and bone spurs, are the most common causes.
- Obesity: gaining weight increases the stress on the spine, leading to trigger sciatica.
- Occupation: some jobs require twisting the back, carrying heavy loads and/or sitting for a long period of time can help develop sciatica.
- Prolonged sitting: as we’ve said above, sitting for a long period of time can contribute to problems in the sciatic nerve. Sedentary lifestyle is also a risk factor.
Even though sciatica may recover on its own, sometimes without the right treatment, it can cause permanent nerve damage. If you’re experiencing:
- Loss of feeling and weakness in the affected leg;
- Loss of bowel or bladder function.
You should seek immediate medical attention to help treat your sciatica problem in the right way.
How to Treat Sciatica With Chiropractic Care
Some people seek Chiropractic Care to help treat sciatica and other painful conditions. That’s because chiropractic care can be a perfect long time treatment option and pain manager.
Since Chiropractic Care works with spinal manipulation and other manual therapies that relieve the pain and strengthen the body, it is a great solution for treating sciatica.
The treatment involves stretching and applying some pressures in the joint, and other specific exercises to help you get rid of the pain and muscular weakness. It’s also the main focus of Chiropractic Care to recover your motion.
The manual massage therapy can also help reduce the knots in the muscles and the inflammation causing compounds near the trigger points.
So, the treatment typically includes:
- Adjustments to restore spinal alignment;
- Medical massages to reduce inflammation in the muscle;
- Stretches to increase range of motion and strengthen the muscles.
But is there a way to prevent sciatica?
It’s not always possible, because the condition may occur, but you can do things to help you protect your lower back, such as:
- Exercise regularly, to strengthen your muscles, specially the core muscles – abdomen and lower back – to maintain a good posture.
- Maintain a proper posture when sitting, with a lower back support and armrests, so that way you can keep your spine aligned;
- Use good mechanics of your body, such as when you stand for periods of time, try to rest one foot on a stool or box from time to time. When you lift heavy objects, try to make your lower extremities do the heavy work, to avoid lifting and twisting at the same time.