Sciatica is a condition in which someone feels pain that radiates from the low back down the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the human body. It is made up of the L4, L5, and S1 nerve roots, and it controls the muscles of the hamstrings, calf muscles, and feet. There are two sciatic nerves in the human body – one on the right, one on the left.
Sciatica is typically a result of compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Common causes of sciatica include:
- Herniated Disc: When the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc protrudes through the tougher exterior, it can press against the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis: This condition occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the nerves, including the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle, located on the back of the hip, can irritate or compress the sciatic nerve if it is too tight.
- Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition where one vertebra slips forward over the one below it, potentially pinching the sciatic nerve.
- Muscle Spasm: Tight or spasming muscles in the lower back or buttocks can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The most common symptom of sciatica is pain, but patients may also experience numbness or tingling, muscle spasm or muscle weakness, or internal organ dysfunction such as constipation. One of the hallmark signs of sciatica is that pain increases the longer someone sits, and will go away for a short period of time if they change positions.
Many women have told us that their sciatic nerve pain is worse than childbirth. It can be very, very painful, but our doctors have an 88% success rate at reducing or eliminating sciatic nerve pain without the use of prescription medications or surgery.
Chiropractic care is a gentle way to restore normal function to the musculoskeletal structures of the body. Our approach to treating sciatica includes chiropractic adjusting, spinal decompressive traction, electrical muscle stimulation, stretches and exercises, and more.
If you suspect you have sciatica, contact our office to schedule a New Patient visit at 979-776-2828, or submit a form on the First Visit page. We will do a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of your condition, and then we will present our treatment recommendations.