This month I will shed a little light on this “condition” called Sciatica. I have actually had practice members ask me if I can adjust their sciatica bone or other variations of inquiries regarding pain they have in their back and/or down their legs.
Sciatica as an entity is a very specific issue caused by an irritation, inflammation, or tension on a specific individual nerve root (between the 4th lumbar and 1st sacral segments) or the accumulation of these nerve fibers called the sciatic nerve after they have exited the spinal column.
First of all, sciatica can and often does exist with little to no back pain and can vary symptomatically from a generalized ache to severe pain anywhere from the buttock to the foot. It can have multiple causes including chemical irritation to sensitive neural tissue, chronic mechanical stress on spinal joints that lead to arthritis, disc swelling and/or herniation, and tension in the piriformis muscle (a muscle in the buttocks) to name a few.
The most important considerations to be made if you or someone you know suffers with sciatica are:
*What is causing the symptoms of sciatica? *What needs to be done to correct the cause?
You will notice that I have highlighted the word cause because the cause is the culprit that is affecting your health and wellbeing and if that is not addressed properly, the symptoms will only get worse as the condition continues to manifest in future damage to the bones, ligaments, and nerve tissue in the spinal regions effected.
The first line of evaluation and care for Sciatica should be a comprehensive health history followed by a neurological and physical exam and in most cases a spinal x-ray to determine the cause and to develop an effective and safe program of care to correct it. In my opinion this should be done by a chiropractor, as we are best equipped to provide these conservative and effective services. The first line of care or evaluation should not be expensive and in most cases unnecessary diagnostic procedures, steroid injections, physical therapy, or spinal surgery because these are primarily aimed at treating the symptoms of sciatica as opposed to detecting and correcting the cause.
With 14 years of experience, I truly believe that you are better off making a healthy choice for a lifetime than you are spending a single minute in a medicine cabinet or on an operating table.