Spinal Decompression Treatment for Sciatica Nerve Pain
If you're experiencing sciatica nerve pain, you've probably had enough of the searing pain travelling from your lower back down your leg. Standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time can increase the pain you feel and you're having difficulty moving or controlling your leg.
The hallmark of sciatic nerve pain is discomfort along the sciatic nerve radiating from your low back down your leg. But other sciatica nerve pain characteristics include:
- Burning, tingling, or searing pain
- Weakness or numbness in the leg or foot
- Numbness or difficulty moving the affected leg or foot
- Sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
Pain can last anywhere from a few days through to many months, and though mild sciatica usually subsides over time, it could be a warning sign that things are getting worse.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatic Nerve Pain is typically caused by a herniated disc or bone spur pinching the sciatic nerve. More rarely, tumours or other diseases applying excess pressure to the spinal discs may also cause sciatica.
Risk factors for sciatic nerve pain include:
- Age related changes to the spine
- Obesity adding increased stress on the spine
- Sedentary lifestyle and the poor spinal alignment from sitting too much
- Diabetes may play a role in sciatica as it affects blood sugar levels
What is a Herniated Disc
Herniated spinal discs affecting sciatic nerve pain, sometimes also known as pinched nerves or bulging discs, have material leaking that increases pressure on the nearby nerve. Discs are the padding between the individual vertebrae of the spine, they are a softer, jelly-like substance, encased in a denser exterior. Too much pressure or degeneration can cause the casing to rupture allowing the softer jelly to leak out of the encasement and press on nearby nerve fibre.
The most common cause of herniated discs is aging where the discs lose some of their water content thereby making them less flexible. This makes the spinal discs more prone to rupturing or tearing with minor strains or twists.
What are Bone Spurs
Bone spurs are bony growths that poke out (or spur out) from the spine. The medical term for bone spurs is osteophytes and they are typically smooth, forming slowly over time. They are quite common in those over the age of 60 and are radiographic markers of spinal degeneration.
Over time the body's ligaments may thicken and may calcify, resulting in this bone formation. As this process continues, compression of the spine occurs and may result in sciatica nerve pain among other spinal issues.
What is Spinal Decompression
Spinal decompression is a safe, non-surgical procedure where the spine is gently stretched and relaxed in a controlled manner intermittently. This may help pull herniated disc material back in and promote better passage of healing nutrients by clearing the blockage around the spine. By gently separating the vertebrae from each other, chiropractic professionals create negative intra-discal pressure that may have life changing results over a series of treatments.
Decompression is not like an inversion table. While on an inversion table, there are small muscles along the spine that may tighten or contract (as their function is to prevent stretching) and cause more compression of the disc. This could cause the disc to bulge even more or herniate, having a disastrous result. During a spinal decompression treatment, the doctor needs to make sure that these small muscles are relaxed and therefore not aggravating the existing condition.
Decompression treatments typically last anywhere from 30 45 minutes with minimal discomfort. The main purpose is to reverse the force of gravity, which may reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve. To have decompression of the spine, there needs to be a minimum amount of pull applied to the injured segment. Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy gently separates the vertebrae from each other, creating negative intra-discal pressure, that over a series of treatments may have life changing results.
Decompression may cause the disc material that has protruded to be pulled or sucked back into the disc. This vacuum within the disc also stimulates the blood supply, speeding the natural healing process. The cycles of decompression over a series of visits promote the diffusion of water, oxygen and nutrient rich fluids from the outside of the disc to the inside. The nutrients and oxygenation may help the disc fibers to begin to heal which may result in significant pain reduction and proper healing in the injured site.
The benefit of spinal decompression is that it may provide relief to sciatica nerve pain without surgery and can be done in the privacy of your Chiropractic clinic. Finding the right Chiropractic clinic for your decompression may also include modalities such as heat, ice, massage, laser therapy, pulse electromagnetic wave therapy and core strengthening.
To learn more about how spinal decompression may help you cope with sciatic nerve pain, contact Dr. Serge Lanoue to schedule your consultation today!
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