Man getting out of bed suffering from Sciatica

Understanding Sciatica: Signs, Symptoms, and Chiropractic Relief

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By Chiropractor Dr Lucy Evans MChiro

I am sure you have heard people saying they think they’ve got sciatica. However its very often misdiagnosed and a label for a myriad of other spinal problems. So I thought I’d share some of the signs and symptoms of sciatica today.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, through your hips and buttocks, and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body. It’s like a mischievous little gremlin that shoots pain down your leg, often stemming from issues in your lower back.

Signs and Symptoms

The main hallmark of sciatica is a pain that radiates from your lower back to your buttock and down the back of your leg. But it’s not just about pain; here’s what you might experience:

Sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain that makes sitting down or standing up tough.
Numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot.
Pain that intensifies when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can also make things worse.
You might feel like a jolt or electric shock is hitting you when it’s at its worst.

Why People Get Sciatica

Sciatica is typically caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve.

Here are some common reasons why people develop sciatica:

Herniated Disc: The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated or slipped disc in the spine, which presses against the nerve.

Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal can put pressure on the nerves, including the sciatic nerve.

Piriformis Syndrome: This occurs when the piriformis muscle in the buttocks irritates the sciatic nerve.

Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition where a vertebra slips out of position and compresses the nerve roots.

Injury or Trauma: Accidents or injuries can cause damage to the spine or surrounding tissues, leading to sciatica.

Age-Related Changes: Degeneration of the spine and its structures is a common cause in older adults.
Lifestyle Factors: Poor posture, prolonged sitting, and lack of regular exercise can contribute to the development of sciatica.

What to Do If You Suspect Sciatica

Seek Professional Advice: Contact a healthcare provider, such as a chiropractor to get a proper diagnosis. They can assess your symptoms and rule out other causes of leg or back pain.

Rest and Observe: While it’s important not to stay inactive for too long, a short period of rest during severe pain episodes can help. Keep note of what activities or positions worsen or alleviate the pain.

Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to manage pain, but it’s best to use these as directed by a healthcare professional.

Stay Active: Gentle activities, like walking or stretching, can help ease symptoms and prevent stiffness. Hot or Cold Compresses: Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

NICE Guidance and Chiropractic Care

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), non-surgical treatments like chiropractic care can be really effective for managing sciatica. They recommend physical therapies as part of the initial treatment strategy, especially for pain relief and improving mobility.

How Chiropractic Can Help

Natural Relief

First off, I’m all about getting you relief without resorting to heavy medication or surgery. We’ll aim to deal with the root cause of your sciatica, not just mask the symptoms.

Personalised Treatment

Every person’s sciatica is a bit different, so after a thorough examination, I’ll craft a treatment plan just for you. This might include spinal adjustments to help realign your back and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Exercises and Advice

I’ll also guide you through specific exercises and stretches that can help strengthen the muscles supporting your back and improve your spinal health. Plus, I’ll offer advice on posture and ergonomic adjustments to help keep the sciatica at bay.

Ongoing Support

Chiropractic care isn’t just a one-time fix; it’s about ongoing support to keep your back strong and healthy. We’ll work together to prevent future flare-ups and keep you moving freely.

With the right approach, including chiropractic care, you can return to feeling good and living your life without that nagging pain.

Drop by the clinic or give us a call on 0121 4214466. We’re here to help guide you towards a pain-free life.

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