The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It extends from your lower back and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into other smaller nerves as it travels down the legs. The sciatic nerve provides feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet and controls the muscles in each leg. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve.
What causes Sciatica?
There are several causes of sciatica. It can be as simple as sitting on a wallet in your back pocket or can be something much worse. The most common cause of sciatica is compression of the sciatic nerve by a herniated disc in the lumbar spine (lower back). Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The sciatic nerve in some people goes through the middle of the piriformis muscle and in others the piriformis muscle overlies the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve.
The symptoms may consist of numbness, tingling, pain and weakness in the affected leg. The pain can vary greatly, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation with weakness in the affected leg. Occasionally the pain may feel like a jolt of electric shock down the leg. The pain often starts gradually and becomes worse with time. Coughing, sneezing or going to the bathroom often increase the pain.
Treatment for sciatica depends on what the cause is. The medical approach is to use prescription drugs and when that fails, then surgery. Our approach to sciatica is to find the underlying cause of the pain and correct it, to the best of our ability. This may include chiropractic manipulation to remove the pressure off the nerve, interferential nerve stimulation to decrease the pain and calm the nerve down as well as promote faster healing, traction to decompress a herniated disc and/or stretches to relieve tension on the muscles and sciatic nerve. Exercises are utilized to strengthen weakened muscles and give support to damaged joints.
Consult our Practice
If you or someone you know is suffering from sciatica, call today at 702-655-1199 for a complimentary consultation.