Sciatica is marked by severe pain in the gluteal/hip region the radiates down the legs as it gets worse. The pain can become extremely painful and debilitating. It is quite common for people to come to our Chiropractic offices in Sunrise and Downtown Miami unable to walk because of the severity. Many people are surprised that they are able to throw away canes and walk again pain-free after only a few short visits.
WHAT IS THE SCIATIC NERVE?
It begins in the lower back as five separate nerves that extend from five different vertebrae – L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3. These nerves meet up to form one large bundle which runs through the buttocks and down the entire length of the leg. The sciatica nerve is responsible (directly or indirectly) for nearly all the sensation in your leg including the skin of the thigh and gluts.
WHAT CAUSES SCIATIC NERVE PAIN?
It Sciatica is defined as pain or irritation along the path of the sciatic nerve which extends from the lower back down each leg. Sciatica is a symptom (like itching), it is not a diagnosis (like Parkinson’s disease). Sciatica can range from an occasional nuisance to excruciating pain that makes walking near impossible. There can be multiple underlying reasons for your sciatic nerve pain. Most commonly, a herniated or damaged disc or arthritic changes in the lower back can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
To answer the question, ‘what is sciatica’ it is helpful to explain some of the relevant anatomical structures. The sciatic nerve is both the longest and the widest nerve in your body.
Sciatica occurs when there is compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The pain is felt in the low back and leg, but the site of the pain isn’t always the site of the underlying issue. Since the sciatica nerve is so long and travels around or through the large muscles of the buttocks, it takes an expert to determine if the pain is coming from disc compression, from muscle spasms or from something else.
While sciatica is most often associated with pain, other symptoms may be present such as tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. The pain can be nearly constant or intermittent. If you think you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain, keep a record of the location, duration and intensity of the pain. Your specific history plays an important role in determining the cause of the pain.
CHIROPRACTORS ARE NERVE DOCTORS
Treatment for sciatica depend on the underlying cause, so there is no one recommended course of treatment for all sciatic pain sufferers. Chiropractors use a variety of non-invasive approaches that include spinal adjustments, physical therapy, acupuncture, targeted stretching and active muscle release. We also discuss the role that stress, nutrition and hydration play in reducing tissue inflammation and keeping discs healthy. The spine, discs, muscles and soft tissue all have a role to play in sciatica and should be evaluated and treated as a connected system.
The most important thing to take away from this article is that sciatica (sciatic nerve pain) is a symptom of an underlying condition. You’ll only start to get better once the underlying condition is identified and this is done through a combination of an exam, history and recommended diagnostic imaging.
Get out of pain and back to living again!
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