Several years ago, a patient in my chiropractic office told me she was having pain in her lower back which radiated down the side of her thigh, calf, and foot. She said the pain was excruciating and wondered if she had sciatica and how she might obtain pain relief. This article will discuss the condition known as sciatica and what can be done to obtain sciatic pain relief.
Let’s begin with the basic anatomy of what is called the sciatic nerve. We all know spinal nerves exit between openings on both sides of the spinal bones. Spinal nerves are found from the area just below the base of the skull all the way down to the tail bone. The lowest five groups of nerves exiting the spine merge together at a point that is found roughly where the midpoint of the rear pocket of a pair of pants is located. That merge point is where the sciatic nerve begins. At that location, the nerve is roughly the size of a finger and is the largest nerve in the body. It sends fibers down to innervate various areas of our thigh, calf and foot.
There are various factors that cause irritation and pinching of the sciatic nerve. Some less frequent causes of sciatic nerve pain are tumors, an arthritic bone spur, and direct trauma such as fall directly on the sciatic nerve or from an improperly positioned injection into the buttock. More commonly, sciatica occurs from a ruptured, herniated, bulging or protruded intervertebral disc of the lower back or from a mis-positioned forward slip of the spinal vertebra which is called spondylolisthesis.
When the sciatic nerve is irritated, we use the term sciatica or sciatic nerve pain. So, while the term sciatic nerve indicates a normal condition, sciatica or sciatic nerve pain indicates an abnormality. Sciatica is generally, very painful, and many who have experienced it will state that it is the worst pain they’ve ever experienced.
Fortunately, there is a safe, gentle and effective way to gain sciatic nerve pain relief without drugs or invasive surgery. For over 125 years chiropractors have been able to provide sciatic pain relief. Chiropractors use methods of traction, spinal vertebral realignment through gentle chiropractic adjustments and other therapies to help give patients pain relief from this extremely uncomfortable condition.
My patient who I mentioned earlier in the article, was definitely having sciatica. Although it took some weeks of gentle, safe chiropractic care, she did get complete relief of her sciatic nerve pain and has remained pain free since.
While sciatica can be painful and debilitating, the majority of the time this condition be treated conservatively by a doctor of chiropractic so that patients can gain sciatic nerve pain relief.