Most of you probably have heard the term sciatica or know someone who has suffered from sciatic pain. But, do you really know what sciatica is? Many people mistakenly use the word sciatica when referencing lower back pain without knowing the actual cause. Sciatica is a term used to describe nerve pain in the leg caused by irritation and/or compression of the sciatic nerve.
Do you think you have sciatica?
The hallmark presentation of sciatica is pain that radiates from the lower back into the buttock down the back of the leg and into the bottom of the foot following the specific sciatic nerve pathway. This occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed or pinched as it exits the spinal canal. The pain is always one-sided and can vary widely from mild to debilitating and can be achy, sharp, burning, shooting, or even feel like an electric shock. Weakness (atrophy) in the muscles of the leg or calf can also accompany the pain.
Are you at risk for sciatica and don’t even know it? The most common risk factors for sciatica include but are not limited to age-related degenerative changes in the lumbar spine (bone spurs, spinal stenosis, arthritis), disc herniation, obesity, diabetes, occupational-related and/or living a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. Do you fall into any of these categories? If so, you should consider Chiropractic as your first response to preventative care or treatment for sciatica.
Chiropractors utilize adjustments or spinal manipulation to treat subluxation of the spine. A subluxation is classified as a restricted segment or misalignment of the spine. Over time, this may cause either a pinpoint or radiating pain as well as dysfunction to the associated organ, muscle, or tissue group. The overall goal of corrective chiropractic care is to induce proper movement of the spinal vertebrae. This improves function, decreases pain, restores proper spinal alignment, and allows the nervous system to function at 100%, or what we call OPTIMUM. So, why walk around with your spine out of alignment? Invest in your health now, make corrective changes to your lifestyle, and prevent this from becoming a permanent issue in the future. At Knecht Chiropractic Clinic, in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, we specialize in the detection and correction of subluxation.
What else can you do to avoid sciatica? Prevention is key. Regular exercise that specifically focuses on strengthening your core and lumbar musculature is essential for maintaining proper posture and spinal alignment. How do you maintain proper posture? Easy, assess your surroundings and evaluate your environment. Apply good healthy ergonomics to your workspace and incorporate good body mechanics into your daily routine. When sitting at a desk, make sure your feet are flat on the floor and knees are at a 90-degree angle, desk height is proportional to your body height, the computer screen is directly at eye level and the keyboard/mouse is in reach allowing for bent elbows when typing or working prolonged periods at your work station. Choose a seat with a straight back or even try sitting on an exercise ball to ensure proper posture when sitting for prolonged periods of time. Humans were not evolutionarily designed for a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies NEED to move. Get up and move every hour. Whether it laps around your apartment or walking in place at your desk, movement is always the answer. Set a timer on your phone or watch as a reminder. You’ll thank me later.
If you or a loved one suffers from sciatica, come see us at Knecht Chiropractic Clinic, in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, for an evaluation to see if we can help.
Sciatica. Mayo Clinic website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435 Accessed November 11, 2021.
Schulz, Craig A et al. “Chiropractic and self-care for back-related leg pain: design of a randomized clinical trial.” Chiropractic & manual therapies vol. 19 8. 22 Mar. 2011, doi:10.1186/2045-709X-19-8
Sciatica. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00351. Accessed November 11, 2021.
Shekelle P, et al. Spinal manipulation in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed November 11, 2021.
Can a Chiropractor help with sciatica? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/back-pain/chiropractor-for-sciatica#chiropractic-basics Accessed November 11, 2021.