One of the most common questions that new patients ask when they call to set up their initial consultation in our office is, “Do you treat sciatica?” Sciatica is actually one of the most common symptoms treated by chiropractors, and with great success.
Sciatica is a general term used to describe several symptoms that can affect your lower back, hip, and leg caused by dysfunction of the sciatic nerve. These symptoms may include pain radiating down your leg, numbness in your lower extremity or weakness in the muscles of your legs. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in your body. It begins in your lower back, runs through your buttocks and then extends down your leg and into your foot. The nerve is responsible for sensation in your leg as well as controlling the the muscles in your leg and foot.
Sciatic nerve pain can be caused by a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of sciatica are subluxation, where one of your vertebra shifts out of position to put pressure on the nerve, lumbar disc herniation and degenerative disc disease. A chiropractor can help treat symptoms of sciatica caused by any of these reasons. However, in rare cases sciatic nerve pain can be caused by spinal tumors or infection, so it is important that a detailed exam be performed, possibly including x-rays, so that the exact cause can be determined before beginning any treatment.
If sciatic pain is caused by a subluxation or disc issue, chiropractic can be helpful in relieving the symptoms. Through spinal adjustments, a chiropractor is able to properly align your spine and keep the joints moving correctly, and as a result remove pressure from the sciatic nerve. Generally, the length of treatment is dependent on how long symptoms have been present, so it is important to seek a chiropractor as soon as you start experiencing symptoms.