Up to 10% of people with low back pain will experience sciatica. It is important to remember that sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Sciatica is pain that is felt in the buttock and leg caused by pressure on a nerve in the lower back. Pain can be felt far from the injury site because the impacted nerve in the back travels down the leg to supply the area with sensation. When the nerve is healthy, it transmits normal sensations felt by the leg up to the brain via the spine. When this nerve is injured, it transmits the sensation of pain at the leg to the brain.
What causes sciatica?
There a multiple causes of the symptom of sciatica but they all involve some degree of impact to a nerve in or around the spine. These causes include:
What treatments can be delivered by a chiropractor for sciatica?
Each treatment will vary depending on the specific nerve that is injured and the underlying cause of your sciatica. Certain treatments will be appropriate for some patients and alternative treatments will be appropriate for others. A sciatica chiropractor uses multiple treatment techniques including; chiropractic adjustments (manipulation), joint mobility techniques, targeted massage, stretching, dry needling (acupuncture) and rehabilitation exercises. These techniques have been proven to be effective in reducing low back pain by scientifically controlled trials and are recommended by international clinical practice guidelines.
Other symptoms can include:
- Back Pain
- Pins and needles or numbness in the leg or foot
- Muscle weakness of the lower limb
- Saddle area numbness [A Medical Emergency]
- Loss of control of bowel and/or bladder [A Medical Emergency]