What is Sciatica?
Anyone who has suffered through a case of sciatica will agree that the symptoms is one of life’s most agonizing experiences. Because there is no other symptom quite like it, it is difficult to make a comparison – but the worst toothache imaginable is of about the same magnitude as the devastating symptoms of acute sciatica.
Sciatica is inflammation of the sciatic nerve which supplies the tissues of the thigh, the lower leg and the foot. It is usually caused by a pinching of one or more spinal nerve roots between the vertebrae of the lower back. A mild case can be brought on by vitamin deficiencies or by arthritic inflammation in the lower spine. Prolonged constipation can put pressure on the nerve and cause sciatic symptoms. Occasionally a tumor may develop near the nerve and press upon it. Sometimes a so-called herniated or “slipped” disc where the nerve roots emerge in the low back may protrude and press upon the nerve, thereby causing sciatica. However, pinching of the nerve is by far the most frequent cause.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body – about as big around as the thumb. There are two sciatic nerves. One courses from the spine down the left leg, the other down the right leg. The roots of the sciatic nerve are in the lower spinal column; and it is here that trouble is most likely to occur.
The importance of this nerve must not be overlooked. Its health is paramount because it is a main communication line between the brain and the thigh, lower leg, foot, and toes. Interference or irritation along any of its course can result in crippling symptoms.
Sciatic symptoms is tearing and sharp. It shoots down the sciatic nerve and extends into the hip, the thigh, and the back portion of the leg. It may rip into the ankle and foot. The symptoms may visit all of these points at once, or skip about from point to point. Although fairly constant, the symptoms sometimes lets up for an hour or so; or a day or so. It may be mild one minute, then rage agonizingly out of control the next. Even strong drugs bring little or no relief. The sciatica victim never knows when the symptoms will subside, or when it will get worse.
Sciatica most often starts with a long period of intermittent, mild low back symptoms. The symptom is often so mild in the beginning that many sufferers cannot recall when it started.
The mild low back symptoms may be ignored or lightly dismissed for years; until suddenly, the slightest wrong movement turns the apparently meaningless symptoms into a violent case of sciatica. This sudden change in symptoms may be caused by lifting a weight, by turning, falling or making a misstep; or it can be caused by merely bending over.
Because the human tendency is to ignore mild symptoms, waiting until it becomes severe, treatment may be unnecessarily complicated and prolonged. Therefore, it is extremely important to have any recurring back problem corrected as early as possible.
What Chiropractors Can Do for Sciatic Nerve Symptoms
Misaligned vertebrae can rarely correct themselves spontaneously and permanently. The answer lies in chiropractic care. Our doctors have the technique and method to correct this pinched nerve and relieve your symptoms.
They will locate the misaligned vertebrae by means of x-rays and other diagnostic methods. After aligning these vertebrae, the nerve pressure is then released, thus relieving the acute symptoms. There are no pain-killing drugs used, so when the symptoms are relieved, you can be sure that the doctor is working on the underlying cause, not just the symptom. It usually takes time to stabilize the bones in proper position so that the vertebrae no longer pinch nerves.