An all too common health complaint
The sciatic nerve is the largest (and longest) nerve of the body, reaching about the size of your thumb in diameter, and running down the back of each leg. When these nerves are irritated or affected by the inflammation of nearby soft tissues, doctors refer to this as sciatica.
Pain is caused when the sciatic nerve roots are irritated, scraped, twisted, stretched or pinched as they exit the spine. Causes of the impairment may be chemical, physical or emotional stresses of everyday living. A full-blown sciatic flare-up can involve the entire sciatic nerve path resulting in symptoms of lower back pain, burning, cramping or numbness that radiates into the thighs, legs, ankles, feet, and toes. Pain may also be limited to various points along the nerve, such as the buttocks, knee area, and calf.
How can chiropractic care help?
One of the most common causes of sciatic leg pain is the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. It can be accompanied by the bulging or herniation of the soft, pulpy discs which separate each spinal bone. This can irritate or put pressure on the sciatic nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord. The result can be an intense pain shooting down either or both legs.
In the past, treatment has involved pain medication, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and even surgery. The chiropractic approach is to use carefully directed and controlled adjustments to remove the interference from spinal structures. These chiropractic adjustments can be quite effective in reducing nerve irritation and its associated pain.
Sciatica, like other health problems can be traced to the spine, often respond dramatically to the restoration of normal spinal function through conservative chiropractic care.