Sciatica is a painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve composes the longest nerve pathway of the body, extending from the lumbo-sacral plexus (the low back area) through the huge muscles of the buttocks, down the thighs into the lower legs, feet and toes. Inflammation may occur at any point of the nerve pathway in either or both legs.
Sciatica is usually experienced as a tearing or sharp pain. Burning sensations, areas of numbness, loss of reflexes, or weakness of the leg or foot can accompany the pain. In many cases, the sciatica pain is experienced as fairly constant with occasional periods of time when the pain lets up.
There are a wide variety of causes of sciatica. The most common cause is a subluxation of the lumbar area of the spine. This spinal misalignment places pressure on the sciatic nerve, decreasing the energy flow to the areas served by the nerve. As a result, the nerve eventually becomes inflamed. Sciatica can also be caused by prolonged constipation, a herniated disc, a tumor, vitamin deficiencies or arthritis.
Conventional medical treatment is often ineffective with sciatica. Pain-killing drugs usually have only a temporary effect. Surgery is also rarely helpful in the long-term. Chiropractic care is often the treatment of choice since it corrects the cause of the condition rather than treating the symptom of pain; however most people will use this method of treatment as a last resort due to fear or a lack of knowledge about chiropractic.
Chiropractic works because you are a self-healing, self-regulating organism controlled by your nervous system. Millions of instructions flow from your brain, down the spinal cord, and out to every organ and tissue. Signals sent back to the brain confirm if the body is working correctly. Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine can interfere with this vital exchange by irritating nerves and compromising the function of affected organs and tissues. Specific spinal adjustments are designed to improve mind/body communications. Health often returns with improved nervous system control of the body.
Back pain is one of the most common painful conditions men and women face. When it occurs, you want relief. You want the aches to stop and your life to start again.
The good news is that there are more treatment options than ever. To get the most benefit, it's important to start your chiropractic therapy that is appropriate for your back problem.
"More Americans are turning to alternative medicine to solve health problems."
- Harvard University