While there are several different reasons that a patient could experience short-term or chronic lower back pain, a pinched sciatic nerve is a common culprit. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and when it is compressed or irritated it can result in severe pain. Keep reading to learn more about chiropractic treatments and methods for preventing sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica refers to a leg pain caused by a pinched nerve that originates in the lower back but can radiate into the back or side of the legs. Pain can vary in intensity from dull, achy pains similar to a toothache, to pins and needles that are comparable to electric shocks. As you can imagine, this can be incredibly hindering and downright intolerable for patients. In most cases, the pain of sciatica dissipates within 6-weeks when a specialized treatment plan is in place.
Chiropractic Treatment and Other Methods for Preventing Sciatica
While many disorders can cause sciatica, a herniated disk is commonly to blame. Patients experiencing sciatica tend to respond well to a combination of treatments that are specific to their symptoms and cause of pain. Effective sciatica treatment plans for long-term relief often include:
- Chiropractic Manipulation – Spinal adjustments are a non-invasive and drug-free option for relief. They can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve by freeing restricted movement of the spine and minimizing the nerve irritability that causes inflammation, pain and muscle spasms.
- Exercises – Extra weight and lack of movement can put pressure on the spine and weaken the muscles, increasing the risk of further strain. Physical therapy, deep stretches and exercises that promote core strength in the back and abdomen, such as yoga, are helpful for relief.
- Posture Practice – Eliminate poor posture by aligning the ears over the shoulders, shoulders with the hips, tucking in the buttocks and engaging an active core. When sleeping, it is helpful to put a pillow under the knees and avoid sleeping on the stomach.
- TENS Unit – Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units minimize muscle spasms and treat acute pain through variable intensities of electrical current control.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications – NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can relieve pain by reducing inflammation.