What Is Sciatica?
This painful low back condition affects men and women alike. It presents as significant pain that radiates from the lower back and moves down into the buttock, along the back or side of the thigh, and down into the calf. The pain can even extend to the feet and toes.
The pain follows the path of either of two sciatic nerves that branch off from the lumbar nerves (lower spine: L4-S1). Each nerve travels down a leg. Patients with sciatica usually feel pain only on one side.
Symptoms of Sciatica
In addition to pain radiating from the lower back and moving down into the buttock, along the back or side of the thigh, and down into the calf, these symptoms are associated with sciatica:
- numbness and/or burning
- tingling or muscle weakness
- difficulty moving or controlling the leg
Patients with these symptoms often find it difficult to sit or stand for any length of time without experiencing pain.
Sciatic pain can last anywhere from days to months, and can be quite debilitating.
Common Causes of Sciatica
The primary cause of sciatic pain is unnatural compression of the lumbar nerves (nerves that branch out from the lower spine).
What causes this nerve compression? There are a number of possibilities.
- Spinal Disc Herniation: If someone has a disc herniation, the herniation (bulge) extends into the spinal canal and presses on one of the sciatic nerve roots. This may cause inflammation and swelling of surrounding tissue, which may result in further compression of the nerve root. The pain of sciatica can be alleviated if the inflammation is reduced and the disc herniation heals and retracts off the nerve. Spinal Decompression is successful in treating this condition.
- Spinal Stenosis: If someone has spinal stenosis, the spinal canal (the space through which the spinal cord runs) narrows and compresses. This pinches and irritates the spinal cord and/or sciatic nerve roots. Spinal stenosis can be caused by bone spurs, spondylolisthesis, soft-tissue inflammation or a herniated disc. Spinal Decompression is successful in treating this condition.
- Spinal Subluxations/Misalignment: When one or more of the lower vertebrae of the spine moves into an incorrect position it may irritate or rub on one of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve, causing the sciatic pain. Appropriate chiropractic care can help to realign the spine and ease nerve irritation.
- Tumours: Sciatica can be caused by tumors that impinge on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. Spinal tumors can cause severe back pain that extends to the hips and feet. Other symptoms include loss of bladder or bowel control, or muscle weakness.
- Trauma: Any trauma to the spine, such as from a bad fall or car accident, may lead to sciatic pain.
- Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle connects from the base of the spine to the hip joint. The sciatic nerve runs right though this muscle. If this muscle shortens or spasms, it can compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain, tingling and even numbness. The pain can be felt from the buttocks down the back of the leg and sometimes into different portions of the lower leg.
- Pregnancy: Sciatica is often experienced by pregnant women. A woman’s body undergoes significant changes that could compromise the sciatic nerve: the uterus could be pressing on the sciatic nerve; muscular tension and/or lower back vertebral compression can press on the nerve; carrying the extra weight of the fetus and postural changes inherent to pregnancy all have the potential to compromise the sciatic nerve. Chiropractic care can help to better align a pregnant woman’s body and reduce or eliminate the pain of sciatica. It’s perfectly safe for pregnant women.
- Poor Lifestyle Habits: Lifestyle habits can directly affect your spinal health. Things like sitting on a wallet (mostly men), standing for prolonged hours every day or wearing a heavy tool belt can lead to sciatic pain. These poor habits can cause significant misalignment of vertebrae in the lower spine over long periods of time.
Sciatica Treatment Options
Medication: Doctors typically prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, pain relievers, or muscle relaxants for the short-term. This may help the patient to manage their pain.
Physiotherapy or massage therapy: Patients may also be prescribed massage therapy, physiotherapy, and/or specific stretching exercises to address achy strained muscles.
The shortcoming with these therapies is that they provide only short-term symptomatic relief. For example, medication typically is only good until the next dose.
For true healing, it’s important to target the root cause of sciatica. The High Performance Healing System™, designed by Dr. Nusbaum for Back Clinics of Canada patients, does exactly that. Patients benefit from powerful, targeted healing. Treatment is safe, non-invasive, non-surgical, and highly effective.
Regardless of what it is that led to a serious, painful case of sciatica, the High Performance Healing System has proven time and time again that healing is possible and a pain-free life is attainable.
Contact Back Clinics of Canada today and schedule a consultation/examination with Dr. Nusbaum. Learn if you are a candidate for this program. And begin your path a pain-free life!
Rosemary B. suffered from sciatica and thought there was no hope. After being diagnosed and treated by Dr. Nusbaum, she is feels 100% better and is now able to do all the things she loves including swimming and work. Click on her image to learn more about her story!
Wily B. had back pain for as long as she could remember and was even hospitalized for her sciatica and low back pain. After her 3rd treatment with Dr. Nusbaum, she left her walker at home and after her 5th treatment she took a 15 day road trip on a bus to the east coast! Now, Wily is happier and healthier and able to live a normal life including cooking dinner and lifting her great-granddaughter. Click on her image to read more!