Sciatica Causes and Treatments

Sciatica is a common reason for people to see a chiropractor, or other back specialists. The term sciatica refers to an irritation of the whole sciatic nerve, or of some of the nerve roots, which make up the sciatic nerve.

In sciatica there can be pain, numbness, and tingling, that extends from the lower back, down the back of the leg, and into the foot.

There are several different possible causes of sciatica. Some of these are:

  1. Herniated disk
  2. Piriformis syndrome
  3. Sacroiliac dysfunction
  4. Degenerative joints

The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disk, though the other causes for sciatica are not uncommon.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

Sciatica is diagnosed through a medical history and a physical exam. Further tests are sometimes needed to find out what is causing the sciatica. An MRI can be used, for example, to verify that there is a herniated disk.

How is it treated?

Initial treatments focus primarily at reducing the amount of pain that you are dealing with. Some of the possible things that you may do to help you sciatica is chiropractic treatments, medication, physical therapy, rest, and surgery.

In general, it is advisable to start with the more conservative forms of treatments first and if they don’t help, then progress to the less conservative methods of treatment, such as surgery.

How successful are chiropractic treatments for sciatica?

Chiropractic, which is a drug free and surgery free method of treatment, attempts to relieve the pressure and the irritation on the sciatic nerve. When the pressure is reduced, the amount of the pain that you feel will decrease.

In a study performed in 2010, a group of 40 people suffering with sciatica caused by a disk herniation, that had previously tried treatments of physical therapy, massage and acupuncture, were divided into two different groups. One group of 20 people would receive chiropractic treatments, while the other group of 20 people would have spinal surgery to treat the cause of sciatica.

The members of each group were treated according to their assigned form of treatment. After 3 months of trying their designated form of treatment, the patients were then allowed to switch to the other type of treatment if they desired.

60 percent (12 patients) of the people in the group receiving chiropractic treatments got better to the same degree as those that had a favorable outcome through spinal surgery. 40 percent (8 patients) that did not see significant improvement through chiropractic treatment, tried spinal surgery after 3 months of chiropractic treatment and then reached the same level of beneficial outcome as the 60 percent that were successfully treated through chiropractic.

3 patients that had received spinal surgery and failed to have significant improvement, elected to try chiropractic treatments after 3 months from the onset of the study. These patients also failed to gain any further improvement through chiropractic treatments.

The authors of this study concluded that patients with sciatica that have failed to improve through methods such as physical therapy, massage, or acupuncture, should try spinal manipulation (chiropractic treatment) before receiving surgery to correct their herniated disks.

Treatment at Springville Chiropractic

Call us today to begin your treatments for sciatica. The sooner that you begin treatment, the sooner you can begin the path on the road to recovery. Don’t just put up with your pain.