You probably know people around you who suffered from sciatic pain. Maybe you had that problem yourself. If it is the case, you know very well how painful that condition may be. The goal of this article is to clarify the nature of that condition.
What is a sciatic nerve?
The main function of the spine is to protect the nerves traveling inside and between the vertebrae. The nerves traveling between the vertebrae are called spinal nerves. The sciatic nerve is made of the combination of the spinal nerves L4 to S3 joined altogether, thus creating the biggest nerve of your body. There is a sciatic nerve heading in each of your legs.
The sciatic pain
The sciatic pain represents a pain felt in the area where the sciatic nerve is traveling through. Many conditions could be responsible for sciatic pain. As an example, an injury to the disc located between two vertebrae (like a disc herniation), could irritate the sciatic nerve. Another frequent cause of a sciatic nerve irritation is a dysfunction of the pelvis. This problem could lead to an increase of muscle tension in the buttock, causing an irritation of the sciatic nerve. Of all the muscles, the piriformis muscle is frequently a source of irritation on that nerve. Since that muscle is attached from the sacrum to the hip and passes on top of the sciatic nerve, a spasm could create a pressure on the sciatic nerve. A wrong move, a bad posture or repetitive movements could lead to that problem. It is also important to know that there are many conditions that could create pain down the leg, without being an irritation of the sciatic nerve. As an example, an irritation of the facet joints (the small joints between two vertebrae) could cause pain in the leg that may look similar to sciatic pain. To know if your sciatic nerve is the source of your pain or not, the chiropractor will have to perform orthopedic and neurological tests.
What are the treatments for sciatic pain?
The treatment for a sciatic problem will vary from one patient to another, depending on the source of the pain. For example, if the pain is generated from a pelvic problem, the chiropractor will mainly work on the pelvis and the muscles attaching to it. On the other hand, if your pain is caused by a disc herniation, the treatment will consist more of treating the affected disc. Don’t be surprised if the treatments are mainly done on the lower back even if your pain is located in your leg. The source of the pain isn’t always located where you feel it.
Many exercises and stretches exist to relieve the sciatic pain. Based on the main source of your pain, the chiropractor will be able to recommend you some of those exercises. The chiropractor will also show you what type of movement and posture you should and should not do in order to prevent the recurrence of your condition.
If the irritation of your sciatic nerve is too important to be treated with conservative chiropractic care, the chiropractor will be able to refer you to the health professional most likely able to help you.
If you are suffering from sciatic pain, don’t wait any longer before consulting the chiropractor. Most of the time, it is easier and faster to treat a problem right from the beginning of the condition instead of waiting for the problem to become chronic.