Pain down the leg… Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common word used to describe pain that radiates down a person’s leg. The clinical diagnosis of sciatica is pain affecting the back, hip and outer side of the leg, which can be caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often a result of degeneration of an intervertebral disk.

The Cleveland Clinic of medicine defines sciatica as caused by an irritation, inflammation, pinching or compression of a nerve in the lower back. The most common cause is a herniated or slipped disk that causes pressure on the nerve root. Most people with sciatica get better on their own with time and self-care treatments.

So many times patients come into the office and states they suffer from sciatica because they googled “leg pain” and sciatica is what comes up. The sciatic nerve is an extensive nerve with 5 root which exits the spinal canal (in the lower back) and 3 more that exit from the sacrum to travels down the back of the leg all the way down to the foot! It is one of the longest and thickest nerves in the body. When you have an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve the pain typically originates in the buttock/gluteal region. True “sciatica” is actually quite rare, but we use the term commonly. Its our job to identify where the problem or pain is coming from.

At Healthmax we pride ourself on getting to the route cause of someone health complaint and help heal from the inside out. Healing also comes from the top down. The brain and spinal cord controls all of our body function. So when someone has pain down the leg and that travels to the toes on the right side. A chiropractic evaluation traces that pain back to the spine and finds out what is the source of the pain. We want to make sure that from the top down, the entire spine is free of interference and the brain is communicating at a HIGH level with the entire body!

Chiropractic care safely and efficiently aligns the spine. Taking pressure of the nerves allows the nerves and the nervous system to function properly. Only 10 percent of the nerve feels pain, so typically when we start care plans to reduce a patients symptoms, pain is one of the first things that goes away. Yay for the patient. Chiropractic care is AMAZING! But we need to make sure the vertebra holds the adjustment. At healthmax we create care plans to not just get patients out of pain, we want them functioning better and getting and the cause of the pain and fixing it there. Rehabilitation is also key to holding the adjustment and preventing it from coming back

I get asked what sciatica feels like? That’s a great question. Many times in my initial consultations with new patients who are suffering, I ask them to describe their pain. When people have nerve pain it is often described as a sharp, shooting or electric type pain. Others state it feels burning or stabbing type pain.

Sciatic pain can be incredibly frustrating for people because it can come and go or it can get worse with certain positions. At times, worst case the sciatic pain can be constant. When this happens we need to work very conservatively to relief the pressure on the nerve, align the spine/pelvis and help reduce inflammation.

Another question I get, typically from a loved one of someone suffering with sciatica or sciatica type pain is what are the risk factors for sciatica?
• Have had a previous injury to lower back
• Weak Core: core is back and abdomen
• LIFE: normal aging comes a natural wearing down of bone tissue and disks in your spine.
• Poor Posture: if your neck and head are too far forward this lead so lower back pain
• Having a physical job or actively heaving lifting, bending and twisting
• Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle – not good for lower back
• Are overweight or obese: The more weight you have, the more your back muscles (counterweights) have to work. We have customize weight loss plans for people who fall into this category as well.
• Pregnancy – as a woman’s body changes to adapt for baby and the birth process, sciatic type pain often occurs.

How can you prevent sciatica from affecting you? Getting your spine checked on a regular basis to maintain proper alignment is KEY! Chiropractic is amazing. We make sure you are aligned, functioning and able to withstand life’s twists and turns. If you have NEVER been check out by a chiropractor, the time is now. If you have but it has been a while… the time is NOW. Don’t let that fear of what if my back goes out keep you from living your best life. Call us today to set up your initial consultation and we will see if chiropractic is right for you!


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