Over the years, much research and studies have gone into the treatment of sciatica. Chiropractic alternatives promise to offer much hope in relieving the sharp, shooting physical pain which is caused by the compression of the sciatica nerve.
What is Sciatica Pain?
The sciatic nerve is a very significant spinal nerve. It begins in the lower back, running across the buttocks, and extends all the way to the lower limbs. There are five spinal nerve roots that come together to give rise to the main sciatic nerve. When any of these five nerve roots get compressed or irritated, such a condition manifests as a sharp pain along the lower back down to the lower part of the limbs. The sciatic nerve itself may also get compressed, leading to unbearable pain in the lower body. Therefore, technically speaking, sciatica pain is rather a symptom than a condition in itself, indicating an abnormal condition of the sciatic nerve roots. The most common causes behind such nerve damage or abnormality may be a herniated disc of the spine, spinal stenosis, Piriformis syndrome, pregnancy, pinched sciatic nerve, and obesity.
Active trigger points present in the lower back and gluteus muscles may also lead to this condition. Bad posture over a long period of time may also be responsible. Chiropractic sciatica treatment is a very common way of relieving the symptoms. Other treatment alternatives may include administration of anti-inflammatory medication, narcotics and paracetamol to ease pain and swelling, physical therapy, stretching exercises to release sciatica nerve pain, sciatic nerve stretches, non-surgical spinal decompression, weight loss, and massage therapy. Epidural steroid shots may also be administered, but the effects last for a short duration. If you are a regular gym goer, you may be given a list of exercises to avoid if you experience sciatica pain.
Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica
The chiropractic healing system is focused towards manual manipulative techniques to correct mechanical glitches in the musculoskeletal system. It involves focusing all attention towards certain spinal adjustments that ease or reduce the pressure on the compressed nerve or nerve root. The chiropractor performs certain manipulations along the spine which cause the compressed nerve to reach an unblocked or unobstructed state, thereby relieving the root cause of the sciatica pain. The focus of such treatment is the entire spine with some extra attention towards the problem area. The diagnosis starts with the chiropractor asking the patient detailed questions about his condition and symptoms. The specialist may also require an X-Ray or MRI report to conclusively decide that the cause behind the pain is related to any kind of obstruction of, or pressure on, the sciatic nerve. Thereafter, a comprehensive treatment plan is chalked out which may include the following steps:-
- The specialist may apply an ice pack or cold compress to arrest the regional inflammation in order to relieve the pain for the time being.
- Thereafter, the specialist will perform certain spinal manipulations typical to chiropractic methods for correcting the spinal alignment. This is known as chiropractic adjustment.
- Chiropractic adjustment may be followed by TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) treatment, in which painless electrical pulses are made to course along the patient’s nerves in order to internally arrest the pain. This technique is believed to be effective in relieving muscular spasms and stiffness of the affected limbs to improve mobility.
- Many a time, the chiropractor will suggest that the patient undergoes an ultrasound, as the cyclic sound pressure causes increased blood circulation (which increases the internal body heat and we all know how good a warm pack feels upon a painful area of the body) which is good for relieving cramps, muscular spasms, inflammation, stiffness, and pain.
If chiropractic assistance is sought in the early stages, this is one of the most effective ways of treating sciatica. Chiropractic methods are founded upon the belief that, with a little help, the body can heal itself. Based on this principle, treatment involves various manipulative maneuvers that aim at manually correcting skeletal alignment, and physically stimulating the muscles and nerves to activate the healing process without involving the use of chemicals and medications. However, in order to have any significant long-term effect, continuity and regularity must be compulsorily enforced.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.