Is Chiropractor Good For Sciatica?
Sciatica refers to the shooting or burning pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. This condition affects the lower back, buttocks, thighs, and lower legs. Sciatic nerve originates in the lower back (lumbosacral region) and extends down to supply the nerve signals to each side of the lower back and legs (including ankles and feet). In most people, it only affects one leg. Incidence of bilateral sciatica is rare.
Spinal conditions are the most common causes of sciatica pain. These may include spinal stenosis, disc herniation/bulging, bone spurs, and nerve compression due to direct trauma or injury. This results in the characteristic symptoms of the sciatica – including shooting pain, burning, numbness, and tingling (pin prick) sensations along the course of the nerve.
While sciatica is often severe and may linger for months, it usually gets resolved in a few weeks with a proper stretching and exercise program. Surgical intervention is only advised if the patient experiences problems with bowel or bladder control or feels extreme and chronic weakness in the affected leg. In the initial stages, most doctors prescribe medications to reduce inflammation, relax the tensed muscles, and relieve the pain. However, it is the stretching or chiropractic treatment that provides quick, side effects free, and lasting relief from the sciatica pain and associated symptoms.
How Chiropractic Treatments Help Sciatica
Chiropractic care primarily helps the body heal on its own (without the use of medicines) and has been clinically proven to provide effective relief from sciatica. It is a noninvasive technique that makes it an attractive and optimal choice of treatment for many people. A chiropractor may use or recommend various treatments to reduce the pain, improve the flexibility, and prevent further attacks of sciatica. Some of these may include;
Chiropractic adjustment or spinal manipulation is the primary and core form of chiropractic care. It helps to adjust the joints, release nerve compression, and realign the spine to bring the body back to its healing form. Proper alignment of the spine is essential for the body to function better and optimally.
Chiropractic care uses the energy of the sound waves to reduce sciatic nerve inflammation and treat sciatica pain. At specific frequency, ultrasound waves produce optimal heat that penetrates deep into the tissues and boosts healing power in the body. Ultrasound therapy is commonly used to stimulate circulation to the affected nerve and reduce muscle stiffness, swelling, and shooting pain associated with sciatica.
Ice or Cold Therapy
Icing the inflamed area or massaging it with cold packs is known to reduce swelling and inflammation. Reduced swelling further helps control sciatica pain and burning.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation uses an electrical device to deliver small voltages of electrical current to the deep tissues in the body. It stimulates the tensed muscles, reduces inflammation, relieves pain, and reduces the occurrence of muscle spasms. You may need several TENS stimulation sessions to release the pressure on your sciatic nerve and get optimal pain relief.
These are some of the common treatment modalities a chiropractor uses to treat sciatica. Besides this, he or she will also advise dietary changes and specific exercises/stretches according to your lifestyle and individual needs to provide a long-lasting pain relief and to prevent future sciatica attacks.