Sciatica Pain Treatment in Chicago
Sciatica pain is a very common complaint – it’s estimated that around 40% of people will experience sciatica at least once during their lifetime! Despite how common sciatica is, especially later in life, it’s often the source of considerable confusion. If you believe that you have sciatica, or want to know what it is, what causes it, and how to treat it, then keep reading to learn more.
Sciatica Pain Management
Sciatica is a painful condition that may limit your ability to walk, sit, stand, or even lie down without pain. There are some ways that you can treat the pain at home and help to encourage a faster recovery, including but not limited to:
- Stretching your back regularly
- Using heat packs
- Gentle exercise
- Staying active
- Taking over-the-counter pain medications
These activities can treat pain and discomfort but may not treat the underlying cause of sciatica. However, chiropractic care provides relief for many sufferers of sciatic pain.
What is sciatica?
The word “sciatica” refers to the pinching or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve originates in the lower back. It travels out of your spine, down through your buttock (there is one sciatic nerve on each side of your body), deep behind the muscle, and down the back of your leg to the back of your ankle. Through the sciatic nerve, your central nervous system controls most of the skin on your legs, the muscles on the back of your thigh, and the most of the muscles and skin of your foot. This is why a wide range of symptoms may be labeled as sciatica. Pain the in thigh, tingling in the foot, numbness in the lower leg – all of these symptoms might be causes by a problem with the sciatic nerve.
How Can You Tell If You Have Sciatica?
Sciatica is most likely to develop between the ages of 40 and 50, although it can arise in individuals much younger and older. If you know what symptoms to be on the lookout for, it can be fairly simple to determine whether you have sciatica.
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
You may feel these symptoms in your:
You may experience multiple symptoms at once, and it’s common for the symptoms to worsen when you cough or move. In most instances of sciatica, the pain will only be felt on one side of the body. The pain may be constant or shooting and you may have trouble standing or walking. If the numbness extends to your genitals, you have numbness or pain on both sides of your body, or you experience incontinence, then it’s important to contact Advanced Spine & Sports Care as soon as possible.
Advanced Spine and Sports Care - Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatments
Sciatic nerve pain can manifest in many different ways, and not always in the spine. Some of the symptoms that may be experienced include:
- Lower back pain
- Buttock pain
- Hip pain
- Thigh pain
- Knee pain
- General leg pain
- Leg numbness
- Leg tingling
If you are suffering from Sciatica Nerve Pain in Chicago, Contact Advanced Spine and Sports Care or schedule an appointment online.
How can chiropractic treat sciatica?
Even though sciatica is a symptom and not a condition, we often speak of “treating sciatica.” In fact, even on our website, you’ll notice that we’ve nested sciatica under the heading of “conditions”! Actually, there is no one single way to treat sciatica because there are many different reasons someone might be experiencing sciatica (see our list above of some of the possible causes of sciatica).
When you see a chiropractor for sciatica, your doctor will first perform an examination in order to determine what may be causing your sciatica. Once your doctor establishes the underlying cause of your sciatica, he or she can then treat that underlying cause, which will relieve you sciatic pain. For instance, if a bulging or herniated disc is causing your sciatica, your course of treatment may be very different than if a tight periformis muscle is causing the problem. You can read more about our treatments for bulging and herniated discs – and also how preventative chiropractic care can stave off the development of bulging and herniated discs. Alternately, a tight periformis muscle that causes sciatica might be best treated by deep massage, the application of heat and/or cold, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) therapy, and a course of home stretching exercises.
The goal of chiropractic care for sciatica is to first establish the underlying problem and then, if possible, treat the underlying condition with the least invasive methods possible. Conversely, traditional medical treatments for sciatica generally include taking over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatories, steroid injections, and, in sever cases, surgery. It is our hope that when you first begin to experience sciatica, you will seek our assistance and that we will be able to relieve your pain before the underlying condition progresses to a point where more invasive measures are needed.
How Can You Prevent Recurrences of Sciatica?
Recovery from sciatica pain normally takes between 4 and 6 weeks; however, the pain may reduce sooner or take much longer to fully disappear. It’s also possible for sciatica pain to come back. Chiropractic care that treats the underlying cause of sciatica pain is one of the best ways to prevent recurrences. Your chiropractor may also advise that you make changes to your lifestyle in order to reduce the chances of sciatica returning.
There are a number of ways to stop recurrences of sciatica, including:
- Exercising regularly
- Stretching regularly
- Improving your posture
- Losing weight
- Improving your lifting technique
A chiropractor can assist you with many of these preventive measures, including helping you to exercise safely and work on your posture.
Common Causes of Sciatica Nerve Pain
In general, sciatica is caused by a compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, anywhere along its route between your lower back and your heel. This “kink in the nerve,” as some people colloquially call it, could be the result of a number of different issues, some of which are:
- Bulging or herniated discs in your spine
- Degeneration of spinal discs
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Spondylolisthesis (when one or more vertebrae are out of line with the natural curve of the spine)
- Piriformis syndrome (when the piriformis muscle in buttocks presses on the sciatic nerve)
- Muscles that are tight or out of place due to natural formation, injury, or overuse, that press on the sciatic nerve
Age is a big factor in which conditions are more likely to be causing an individual’s sciatica pain. For example, disc degeneration and herniated discs are common causes of sciatica in individuals under 60 years of age, and spinal stenosis is more common in individuals over 60.
Who Is More at Risk of Developing Sciatica?
As well as age, there are other factors that can increase the chances of an individual suffering from sciatica pain. You may be more at risk of sciatica pain, if you:
- Are overweight or obese
- Regularly lift heavy items
- Normally sit for long periods of time
- Have diabetes
- Are pregnant
- Suffer from chronic or acute back pain
Did you know?
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body.
Sciatic Throughout History
Sciatic Throughout History - Hippocrates, the Greek physician who lived around 300 BC, wrote extensively about sciatica and noted that it was more prevalent among the wealthy classes. He attributed this to the fact that wealthier citizens rode horses more often than poorer people.
While his understanding of the workings of the spine and nerves is much different from what we understand today, the connection between horseback riding and sciatica was probably not that far off. The jarring motion, the constant flexing of large thigh muscles, and the prolonged seating associated with horseback riding could very well trigger some of the conditions which sciatica is a symptom of.
Pre-modern Celtic and British societies referred to sciatica as the “elf’s arrow.” Similar to how it might feel to be struck with a tiny but powerful arrow, sciatica can come on suddenly and powerfully, and include shooting pain down the leg. Similarly, early Germans called sciatica “Hexenschuss” – which means “witch’s shot. In some more remote areas of the world today, sciatica is still considered the work of an evil spirit.