Sciatica (also known as Sciatic neuritis), is a condition of pressure or irritation of the Sciatic nerve, which is the longest and largest nerve in the human body. It is comprised of five nerve roots that originate in the lower back (lumbar spine), and any one of these roots can be affected. Sciatica is usually accompanied by pain which can be intense, often following the course of the nerve down the back of the leg all the way to the foot. Along with pain, it can also cause sensations of burning, pins and needles, numbness, or throbbing. In severe or prolonged cases, inflammation of this nerve can cause a muscle weakness in the leg or loss of a reflex. Simple daily activities such as walking, bending, or sitting may be very difficult or impossible.
Like many other conditions, Sciatica has a wide variety of causes. Spinal subluxations and a protruding disc are two of the most common causes. As chiropractors, we will examine the spine to determine the cause of the pressure or irritation, and recommend the best course of treatment. If the appropriate course of treatment is chiropractic care, the treatment will involve gentle spinal adjustments. A specific technique that we use known as flexion-distraction is typically very successful in reducing symptoms associated with an injured disc. Additionally, therapies such as ultrasound are utilized to help reduce inflammation and pain. Treatment will be in conjunction with assessment of lifestyle factors such as posture and daily habits, as well as recommendation of stretches and appropriate strengthening exercises. Many people suffering from Sciatica have reported dramatic relief with chiropractic care, having addressed the root cause of the condition.