What Sciatica Is, and How Chiropractic Care May Help
According to Harvard Medical School, sciatica pain affects up to 40% of all people. This means that 40% of all people have experienced the unpleasant shooting pain that comes with it, starting in the lower back and travelling down the buttocks and back of the legs, typically only on one side.
If you recognize your own experience in the above, you are probably already aware of sciatica and how uncomfortable the experience can be. If this is the case, keep reading to learn more about sciatica and how chiropractic care may help those suffering from it.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica, the condition, is named after sciatica, the nerve which runs down the lower back and through the back of each leg. A number of conditions, such as herniated disks, can pinch or put pressure on the nerve, causing the shooting pain sensation. Obesity, smoking, and sedentary lifestyles can all be risk factors for sciatica.
Age is another one of the factors that increases the likelihood of developing sciatica, as changes happening to the spine over time make it more likely that pressure will end up being applied to the nerve. The symptoms of sciatica do not just include pain; they can also include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected leg and/or side of the body.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, always remember to consult your personal physician to find out if you are indeed experiencing sciatica and how it should be treated, since symptoms, severity and causes will vary greatly from person to person.
How Can Sciatica Be Treated?
If your physician recommends chiropractic care as a way to treat sciatica, your chiropractor will develop a plan for treatment. While treatment will vary, one of the most common chiropractic treatments for sciatica is spinal decompression.
In spinal decompression, a chiropractor stretches the spine in order to relieve pressure on herniated disks. This can mean that spinal mobility could eventually be increased, and that oxygen and other healing nutrients are better able to travel through the bloodstream, possibly helping the healing processes. In many cases, before treatment begins chiropractors may recommend MRIs or X-rays in order to better determine the most effective treatment.
While it is a proven method of treatment, spinal decompression is not the only way to treat sciatica. Your chiropractor may recommend or implement laser therapy, ice/cold therapy, and many other treatment methods to complement spinal decompression.
Will Chiropractic Care Fix Sciatica?
As with most conditions, chiropractic care is not a guaranteed way to heal sciatica. The fact is that everybody is different, and therefore, everybody will respond differently to different treatments. Your unique body and conditions mean that you need to find the care that’s right for you, and that doesn’t mean that the first treatment you try will necessarily work for you.
Chiropractic care for sciatica is an alternative to surgery that should be discussed with your physician and your chiropractor alike. It’s important to note that should you choose to pursue chiropractic care for sciatica, your chiropractor will likely put together a treatment plan that may take multiple sessions to implement. The average length of one spinal decompression treatment is roughly 30-40 minutes.
Most importantly, chiropractic care is a holistic practice, which means that it isn’t a catch-all solution for problems; it’s part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Your choices and habits may also play a big part in your recovery and in prevention of sciatica and related conditions. Good posture and an active lifestyle are essential to holistic health--and both are within your control to adopt today!
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