What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve runs down the length of each leg. It starts from your low back and ends at the heels of your feet. This nerve serves an important function affecting the hamstrings, calf muscles, lower leg muscles and some foot muscles. Sciatica is a term used to describe the pain caused by an irritation of the nerve. In many cases, the pain gets worse with twisting, bending, sneezing or coughing.

What causes sciatic pain?

Up to 90 percent of sciatic cases are caused by a herniated disc causing the nerve root to be compressed. This can occur as a result of an injury, or age-related wear and tear. Other common causes include lumbar stenosis or piriformis syndrome.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain in the leg or rear that is worse when sitting
  • Burning or tingling running down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A constant pain on one side of the rear
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

How can chiropractors help your sciatica?

A chiropractor will typically conduct a full history and physical examination to determine whether the sciatic nerve is the main issue. Chiropractors often work as part of a patient’s health care team and recommend other treatments by physiotherapist, massage therapist or acupuncturist. There are a variety of treatments that chiropractors can offer, including recommendations on lifestyle changes. These include:

  • Stretching and Strengthening Exercise
  • Nerve Flossing Exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Spinal mobilization/manipulation

What can you do at home?

Talk to your chiropractor to ensure you are doing everything you can to improve your conditions even at home. The chiropractor may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Use hot and cold packs for comfort
  • Avoid sitting or standing for long periods
  • Practice good posture
  • Improve your core strength through exercise
  • Gently stretch out your lower back and hamstrings
  • Take a walk regularly, go swimming, or try aqua fitness
  • Use the proper technique when lifting heavy objects

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