Sciatica is the term for an irritated or inflamed nerve that originates in the lower back that travels down the back of the leg. This irritation can be caused by a number of different conditions that chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat. Sciatica can be caused by Subluxation (spinal misalignment), muscle imbalance, nerve entrapment, nerve impingement, and disc problems. Chiropractic care successfully treats sciatic pain by not only minimizing the obvious symptoms but by determining and eliminating the underlying cause of the problem. Sciatica can be a very painful and debilitating condition, and if not properly addressed can lead to permanent Nerve Damage.
Sciatica is a common condition with disc problems. Sciatica is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc (also referred to as a bulging disc, ruptured disc, or pinched nerve).
The problem is often diagnosed as a “radiculopathy,” meaning that a disc has protruded from its normal position in the vertebral column and is putting pressure on the radicular nerve (nerve root).
For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating.
For others, the pain might be infrequent and irritating but has the potential to get worse. Usually, sciatica only affects one side, and the pain often radiates through the buttock and/or leg. One or more of the following sensations may occur:
Pain in the buttocks and/or leg that is worse when sitting
Burning or tingling down the leg
Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
Constant pain on one side of the buttocks
A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
Symptoms that may constitute a medical emergency include progressive weakness in the legs or bladder/bowel incontinence. Patients with these symptoms may have cauda equina syndrome and should seek immediate medical attention.