Did you know sciatica is not a condition in and of itself? The terms "sciatica" and "sciatic nerve pain" actually refer to a set of symptoms caused by impingement or irritation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, and runs from the lumbar spine through the buttocks and all the way down the back of the leg to the foot.
Impingement or irritation of the sciatic nerve may lead to tingling, numbness, and pain in the lower back, hip, buttocks, legs, and foot.
Often sciatica is a sign of deeper musculoskeletal issue, so it's important to identify what's causing your sciatica for full relief. Our St. Louis chiropractors are experienced in diagnosing and treating sciatica and lower back pain.
The sciatic nerve can be impinged or irritated in a variety of ways. Most commonly sciatica is the result of lumbar disc herniation (bulging disc), bone spurs, and other conditions associated with aging.
Lumbar Disc Herniation: Your vertebrae are separated by spinal discs which act as cushions between the bones. If the soft interior of a disc leaks outside of its tougher exterior, the bulging disc may place direct pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Bone Spurs: Bone spurs frequently develop in patients with osteoarthritis. As we age, the cartilage between the joint in the spine begin to lose their water content and wear down. Sometimes the body tries to compensate for this loss in cushioning by developing bone spurs that may impinge the sciatic nerve.
Lumbar Spinal Canal Stenosis: Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal which can place pressure on the spinal nerves. Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis experience lower back pain most of the time, along with leg symptoms and numbness when they begin walking.
Other common causes of sciatic nerve pain include:
The majority of patients with sciatic nerve pain can experience relief without the use of surgery or drugs through conservative treatments like chiropractic care and physical therapy. Chiropractic adjustments can ease pressure on the impinged sciatica nerve and promote blood flow to the affected area. Physical therapy can help to strengthen your core muscles to prevent future episodes of sciatic pain.
These treatments have been confirmed to be effective for easing sciatica and related conditions like lumbar disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, arthritis, and more. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that the majority of patients receiving spinal adjustments were able to recover without surgery. Another study showed that workers with sciatica who were treated by chiropractors returned to work sooner than the average employee not treated by a chiropractor.
Our chiropractors routinely see the success of these sciatica treatments for patients in St. Louis, MO. For effective relief of sciatic nerve pain, call Accident & Pain Relief of St. Louis at (314) 588-9100 today.