What Is Sciatica?
Simply put, sciatica is pain that travels down the leg, from the buttock as far down to the foot. Sciatica is not a suitable diagnosis by itself as it simply describes the symptoms but does not give you any idea to the cause. You may experience pins and needles or numbness in the legs. Interestingly, you may not even have a sore back. It is important to get a proper diagnosis, as the treatments are different. Chiropractors are primary contact practitioners. This means that people can directly access their services. Chiropractors don't claim to 'treat' all forms of sciatica, as there are many diverse causes. However, we are well placed to manage them. The management could be in any of the following forms: diagnosis, advice, treatment (see list below), monitoring of progress or timely and appropriate medical referral.
What Causes Sciatica?
The sciatic nerves are the largest in the body running down the back of each leg. The pain caused by irritation of these sciatic nerves can for some be almost unbearable with little or no relief. Few people connect the problem to the spine where the sciatic nerve roots exit from the spinal cord. When these nerve roots are irritated or pinched it can cause an extremely painful flare-up of one or both of the nerves down the legs, causing extreme pain.
Sciatic pain can be caused by a trapped nerve from a bulging disc (also calledslipped disc, prolapsed disc and herniated disc in varying degrees of severity). The lowest discs in the spine are the most vulnerable as they are carrying the most weight and there is a narrowing of one of the important spinal ligaments here. However, many cases of sciatica are not caused by a slipped disc. A common cause of sciatica originates from irritation to the sacroiliac joints (in the lower back).
Do I Need An MRI?
Although MRI’s can be useful, often they fail to reveal anything that changes the type of care a Chiropractor provides. In a study a recent study it was found that 40% of normal middle aged adults had a disc bulge on MRI scans and yet were not suffering from any adverse symptoms. So presumably many people who go to the GP with low back pain and sciatica due to say a lumbar joint problem, will have an MRI which shows a bulging disc completely un-related to their pain. This may account for the high failure rate of lumbar spine surgery to remove the offending disc bulge. The patient wakes up and the lumbar spine joint problem is still there.
Chiropractic Gets To The Cause
GP’s will often prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and pain-killers which can help with the pain but do nothing to correct the underlying cause. Chiropractic should always be one of the first options for diagnosing the cause of sciatica, as it is safe, natural, and non-invasive. One of the causes of sciatica is from mechanical problems with the spine. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown in animal studies to reduce the inflammation of the nerves and reduce the size of the disc bulge.
One of the techniques we use at The Ashford Back & Wellness is called Flexion-Distraction and has been shown to be effective in helping people. Flexion-distraction involves the patient lying face down on a special Chiropractic bench, which has a movable lower section. The Chiropractor places one hand on the vertebra above the disc lesion and gently lower the patients’ legs creating a distraction stretch on the damaged area. Often people report that this brings immediate relief. This gentle up and down movement is repeated for a few minutes and is done 2 to 4 times a week for 2 to 4 weeks.
To help find that cause we offer:
· A Private Consultation with the Doctor of Chiropractic
· A Thorough Examination including Neurological,
Orthopaedic & Blood Pressure Tests
· X-Rays, if necessary
· A Verbal Report of our Findings and thorough Explanation
of the X-Rays
After which you should know more about your body and the problems you are experiencing than you ever have before. Whether you go ahead with treatment as always is entirely your decision.
Call TODAY for an Appointment.