When to See a Chiropractor for Sciatic Nerve Pain

Have you heard of sciatica? This common musculoskeletal disorder affects around 40% of U.S. adults at some point during their lifetime. While it is usually a temporary condition, it can cause significant pain and affect the way that you move while you have it. 


What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve branches from the lower back right through the hips and buttocks, and down each leg. Sciatica is the name given to the pain that runs through the sciatic nerve and can be felt in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and even the feet. 


Sciatic pain occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, inflamed, irritated, or compressed. In many instances, this happens when the patient suffers from a herniated to slipped disc in the spine that places pressure onto the nerve. Sciatica is more likely in people who have had a previous injury to their lower back, or older people who are experiencing natural deterioration of the musculoskeletal system. It is also more common in people who are carrying extra weight, who have poor posture, and who have active jobs that require lots of heavy lifting. 


Symptoms of sciatica 

The most obvious symptom of sciatica is pain that extends throughout the sciatic nerve and so can affect the lower back, buttocks, back of the leg, feet, and even the toes. This pain can vary depending on the individual and the severity of sciatica. People often describe it as stabbing, burning, shooting, tingling, or twinges. The discomfort is usually worse in the buttocks, legs, and feet than in the lower back. Many people with sciatica often report numbness and feelings of weakness in the lower limbs. 


The pain of sciatica may come and go or remain constant. It can also get worse when you stand up, spend long periods of time in one position or twist your upper body. A sudden involuntary body movement, such as when you cough or sneeze, could also cause a jolt of pain. 


Sciatica usually only affects one leg at a time, but it’s not unheard of for patients to experience the same symptoms on both sides. 


When to see a chiropractor for your sciatica

In many instances, sciatica will get better without intervention within a few weeks. Pain medications and anti-inflammatories can help to reduce your discomfort. However, if you are still experiencing painful areas, are finding certain movements hard or your discomfort is affecting your sleep, it is time to see a chiropractor for help and support. 


Chiropractic has been shown to be very effective in the treatment of sciatica. This non-invasive, drug-free technique focuses on realigning the spine and musculoskeletal system so that the body can heal itself and function optimally. This realignment is primarily achieved using manual manipulations. This is where your chiropractor uses their hands to apply pressure to the spine, muscles, and other connective tissues to bring the spine into alignment and reduce areas of pressure that could be pinching the sciatic nerve. 


Other techniques that your chiropractor could use to help could include:


  • Hot/cold therapies

  • TENS machine

  • Spinal decompression

  • Massage


Your chiropractor can also make recommendations relating to your posture, your exercise routine, and other lifestyle habits that could be contributing to your sciatica. 



If you are suffering from sciatica, visit Integral Chiropractic in Foster City, CA. Call (650) 212-1414 today.

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