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sciatica spine chiropractic

What is Sciatica and how to treat it?

Are you experiencing pain in the low back or buttocks that moves all the way down to the toes? If that is the case, you may be suffering from a common condition called sciatica. This article will help you understand what sciatica is, what causes it, and how your north Dallas chiropractor can help you with sciatica.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve gets compressed. The added pressure on the nerve changes the signal that the nerve transmits and symptoms develop. The symptoms of sciatic pain radiate all the way down to the buttocks and are usually only on one side.

The quality of pain can vary from feeling like an electric shock, burning, numbness, tingling or just intense pain down the back of the thigh and into the toes.

What causes sciatica?

There are a few things that can cause sciatica. To better understand these reasons, let’s look at the anatomy of the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve originates from the lumbosacral plexus. It is made up of the L4 to S3 nerve roots. As it descends, it breaks up into smaller nerves that control the greater portion of muscles and skin of the posterior thigh, leg, and foot.

Most common causes of sciatica.

Mechanical Compression:

Disc Herniation

Intervertebral discs are between two vertebrae of the spine. These allow space between the vertebrae for the nerve to exit the spinal canal, provide flexibility to the spine, and moderate compression forces to the spine.

A disc herniation can compress a single nerve root and develop symptoms in that nerve distribution.

To learn more about disc bulges and disc herniations click here.

Foraminal Stenosis

The foramen is the space between two vertebrae and the disc. Foraminal stenosis is when this space is narrowed. Some things that can cause narrowing of the foramen are arthritic changes in the facets (the joints between two vertebrae), changes in ligament thickness, and other degrative changes.

Segmental instability

Segmental instability happens when there is a shift in the position of the vertebrae above, such as in the case of spondylolisthesis. In cases like these, an injury or an underlying cause leads to segmental instability.

Piriformis syndrome

On its way down, the sciatic nerve passes by the piriformis muscle. In some people, the sciatic nerve passes over the muscle, but in some other people, it passes through or even below the muscle. The latter two variances are more prone to piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome will present itself the same as sciatica but the cause of it is different.

Other possible causes of sciatica due to compression include tumors, cysts, or infections of the lower back. These are however rear. Read more here.

Chemical processes:

Regional inflammation

Inflammation is the chemical process by which the body begins the healing process. Inflammation may irritate the sciatic nerve causing the symptoms described above. Degenerative disc disease is what most commonly causes inflammation in the lower back.

How to get rid of sciatica?

Treatment of sciatica depends on where the irritation takes place and what is causing it. Some home remedies can help you improve your symptoms. Unfortunately, if the cause of them is not addressed, it will most likely return.

Home remedies

Ice: Applying ice to the lower back will help reduce inflammation of the area and numb the nerve. This will alleviate some of your symptoms.

Heat: The application of heat to the muscles of the lower back will help release some of the muscle tension or spasms that could be contributing to the problem.

Stretching: Although this could initially cause more irritation to the nerve, stretching the muscles of the area can provide temporary relief from sciatic pain. Use stretching with caution and at appropriate amounts. After a flair-up, stretching will decrease the frequency of symptoms.

Corrective exercises: Once the symptoms are under control, corrective exercises can help strengthen the areas involved and prevent future occurrences.

North Dallas Chiropractic treatment for sciatica

As you can see there are several reasons that can cause sciatica. Our north Dallas chiropractors are highly trained to identify the source of the problem and determine the best treatment for each patient.

Although poor posture and improper mobility of the low back are the most common causes of sciatica, it is necessary to perform a thorough evaluation of each case. This will allow us to identify the best course of action for faster recovery. Recovery time from sciatica varies in each person. Some of the determining factors are physical condition, occupation, and overall health.

Symptoms of sciatic pain just show up. In most cases, the problem has been developing over time, and one incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The pain can be debilitating to where someone cannot stand or walk. Our mobile services are specifically created for cases like these so that you don’t have to go through all that pain to get treated. 

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