Sciatica is a very common presentation we see at our Chiropractic clinic in Narellan & Mt Annan.
Many people have heard of the word Sciatica, but come in with a lot of questions about it. So here are some of the most common questions I hear regarding Sciatica.
What is the Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and it originates in the lower back from segments L4-S3.
It runs from the lower back, down through the buttock, back of the thigh and into the lower leg.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis, but rather it is a symptom of an underlying condition.
The word Sciatica is used to describe one or more of the following symptoms:
Pain in the buttocks, back of thigh, calf and/or foot (usually on one side, but can occur in both legs)
Burning, tingling, numbness or pins and needles down the leg
Weakness or loss of power to the muscles of the leg or foot
Sciatica is generally worse when sitting, and the pain gets worse usually trying to stand up after sitting. The pain is commonly increased when bending, lifting, straining or coughing.
What is causing my Sciatica?
Sciatica is brought on when the Sciatic Nerve is compressed or irritated, normally by a problem in the lower back.
At Proactive Spine & Sports Medicine, the first step we take with patients with Sciatica is to determine what is causing the irritation or compression on the Sciatic Nerve. We perform a thorough examination and obtain any relevant scans needed to diagnose the cause.
The most common cause of sciatica is a lumbar disc injury. Other common causes include lumbar spine degeneration and arthritis, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing), a lumbar joint injury, spondylolisthesis (forward slip of vertebra), and piriformis syndrome.
How do I get rid of my Sciatica?
The cause of sciatica is generally complex and requires a course of treatment. The course of treatment is broken down into 4 phases:
1. Pain relief
This is the main reason patients with sciatica present to our clinic. Our first goal is to get rid of your pain. We use various effective techniques to manage the inflammation and reduce the pain.
It is important to remember that pain is the last symptom to occur, and it generally is the first symptom to disappear. Once pain is gone, there is still a lot of recovery that is required to return to 100%.
2. Restoring normal posture, mobility and strength
As the pain settles, we then perform a thorough assessment of your spinal stability. We then prescribe tailored exercises to help improve mobility and stabilse your spine.
Chiropractic adjustments are very important at this stage to assist with the proper repair and stability of your low back.
3. Restoring normal function
The next step is to help you return to your desired activities. Everyone is different and has specific goals. Some want to return to playing 18 holes on the golf course, others want to play with their kids without any pain. Whatever your goal we will help guide you each step of the way.
4. Prevent a recurrence
The main predictor of back pain is previous back pain. Sciatica does have a tendency to reoccur, normally due to poor spinal stability and control.
Spinal stabilization exercises and chiropractic adjustments help activate the correct muscles for spinal control. These combined with learning self-management techniques will help prevent another episode of sciatica.