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Chiropractic – Treating Sciatica With Chiropractic


Sciatica refers to pain, numbness, or tingling that begins in the lower back and continues down the sciatica nerve into the buttocks and legs. Sciatica is not a disorder itself, but rather a symptom of some other underlying cause, usually pinched nerve or herniated disk in the lower back or lumbar disk herniation (LDH).

When a spinal disk herniates, the gel-like substance between the vertebrae can creat pressure around the nerve causing pain and dysfunction. When this occurs in the lower back near the sciatica nerve, it can cause pain and dysfunction anywhere along the sciatica nerve, the longest nerve in the body. The most common sciatica symptoms may include pain in your buttocks, pain in the back of your thighs and calf muscles, tingling or burning sensations as far down as your feet and toes, muscle weakness, and numbness. You may or may not have associated back pain.

Mild sciatica symptoms will often subside on its own but don’t ignore that there is a cause. Moderate to severe symptoms will likely require professional attention. If your symptoms last more than one week, you should consult a chiropractor. A chiropractor can assess the severity of your symptoms and find the cause of your dysfunction. If your sciatica is caused by a herniated disk, subluxated vertebrae, or pinched nerve, your chiropractor will recommend a course of care including spinal manipulations (also called adjustments), rehab therapies and possibly disc decompression therapy to treat the herniated disk. Spinal manipulations are a conservative, nonsurgical approach to treating sciatica resulting from a lumbar disk herniation.

In a recent study, “Manipulation or microdiskectomy for sciatica?,” in the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,” researchers compared the effects of spinal manipulations against microdisketomy (surgical treatment) in patients with sciatica due to a herniated. The results showed that the spinal manipulations were found to be just as effective as the surgery. All study participants suffered from chronic sciatica and had not seen relief with traditional medical treatment. Sixty percent received relief from the spinal manipulations to the same degree as if they had undergone surgery warranting that spinal manipulation therapy should be considered first by patients with sciatica from LDH.

This study is good news for individuals suffering from sciatica from a herniated disk. Chiropractic is a natural, holistic practice, and can help many patients avoid surgery. Surgery is expensive and involves the risks associated with anesthesia, infection, and scar tissue development, which can lead to more pain and dysfunction. Chiropractic is a safe and cost-effective alternative.

Chiropractors are licensed Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) who are trained extensively in the biomechanics of the body and how to correct them naturally using manipulative therapies. A spinal manipulation should never be attempted by anyone other than a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic. A visit to your local chiropractor could help you safely and effectively manage your sciatica and treat the underlying cause of your pain.



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