Sciatica is pain that typically radiates down one side of the body from your lower back to the hip and buttocks and down the back of one leg, sometimes to the toes. Not all sciatica is the same. It can be a dull ache or a sharp, excruciating pain that makes it difficult to walk, stand or even sleep. It can also cause numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the affected areas. Because there are more serious conditions, such as a tumor, that can cause pain similar to sciatica, it’s important to have a thorough examination if you’re experiencing this type of pain.
Some experts believe as many as 40 percent of people will experience sciatica at some point in their lives, with many cases going undiagnosed and untreated. The older you get, the greater the risk. People who are obese, smoke, have diabetes, or suffer from acute or chronic back pain are more susceptible to sciatica.
Sciatica is caused by compression or pinching in the sciatic nerve at the bottom of the spinal cord. This pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause irritation and inflammation in the nerve root, resulting in pain up and down the sciatic nerve.
Pressure on the sciatic nerve is most commonly caused by a herniated or bulging disc at the base of the spine. The herniated or bulging disc can be caused by an injury or accident, repetitive movements from physically demanding work and activities, and degeneration (gradual wear and tear). Obesity, lack of exercise, poor nutritional habits, and poor body mechanics can accelerate the degeneration process.
In addition to herniated and bulging discs, sciatica can be caused by:
As always, surgery is an absolute last resort. If we recommend surgery, there is no other option. Fortunately, most sciatica cases can be resolved through less invasive means.
If you were to ask Dr. Google how to treat sciatica, you would find dozens of articles about different stretches and exercises. For example, some people will say that sciatic pain can be relieved by walking. That might be true for some very mild cases. However, imbalanced walking and poorly fitting shoes can aggravate sciatica, so it’s important to assess the whole patient, not just the painful areas.
We can diagnose the root cause of your sciatica by performing a comprehensive physical examination, reviewing diagnostic imaging, and understanding your history. We’ll discuss everything from what you eat and the kind of work you do, to how you walk and the shoes you wear.
Based on the cause of your sciatica, your physical condition, history, age, and other factors, we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan. Your treatment plan could include some combination of physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, podiatry, clinical nutrition, and supplementation. Unlike other centers, Natural Healthcare Center is are aligned with the best medical providers and surgeons that work with us as one team when an outside referral is needed. Our goal is not just to eliminate sciatica, but to restore balance throughout your entire body so you feel better, function better and live longer.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body, stretching from the bottom of the spinal cord in the lower back, down the hips and buttocks on each side, down the legs, and into the feet.
If you’re experiencing aches, sharp pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness between your lower back and feet, schedule a complimentary consultation at Natural Healthcare Center. We can get to the bottom of what’s bothering you, determine if you have sciatica, and attack the problem at the source with a personalized treatment plan.