Sciatica is manifested by pain in the buttocks with pain radiating down the back of the legs. It may be on both sides but is more common on just one side. Sufferers of sciatic pain have compared the discomfort in the back of their leg to a severely throbbing toothache. Pain can become so severe as to totally disable the sufferer. While sciatica usually accompanies low back pain, it may occur without such symptoms being present.
What causes it? “it is most commonly caused by peripheral nerve root compression.” (Merck Medical Manual) Spinal vertebral subluxations (misaligned vertebrae) in the lumbar spine can and do cause peripheral nerve root compression.
These misaligned vertebrae may have been caused by old back injuries, and later, aggravated by back strain from stressing the lower back and abdominal muscles through trauma, improper lifting, obesity or pregnancy.
When this condition occurs, the sciatic nerve can become inflamed from the lower back all the way down the back of the leg, resulting in pain, numbness in the leg and/or foot and even weakness in the muscles. The sciatic nerves supply energy to the muscles and joints of the hips, buttocks, calves and feet.
Medical doctors are often frustrated by sciatica because many times even the strongest painkillers do not provide relief to the sufferer. As with many drugs, there is also the risk of becoming addicted or dependent upon them. The main thing to remember about drugs is that they do not treat or correct the cause of the problem.
As Doctors of Chiropractic, we use spinal adjustments to reduce pressure on the “pinched” spinal nerves, thereby relieving the pain. Chiropractic treatments help reduce the inflammation of the sciatic nerve and are especially effective when treatments begin in the early stages of the condition. If you choose drugs first, you are simply masking the pain, and though you may be experiencing some temporary relief, you can be further damaging spinal nerves by allowing the problem to continue, and possibly even worsen.
Other than a Doctor of Chiropractic, there are very few doctors who are qualified to successfully remove spinal subluxations. The first and primary consideration, before even thinking about back surgery, should be a chiropractic consultation.
Any sufferer of sciatic pain who has had the cause (subluxation) removed through chiropractic will testify that chiropractic treatment first will be the last treatment needed!!