What is Sciatica? Some Quick Facts
Finding out how to relieve sciatica will understandably be at the forefront of your mind if you're struggling with it. It can be a hugely debilitating and painful condition to live with. 'Searing pain' is often how our patients describe it here at The House Clinics, Bristol. However, Chiropractic treatment is proven to be highly effective in treating the root cause of sciatica and bringing lasting relief for sufferers.
"So What is Sciatica and how can it be managed and treated so you can get back to a normal, pain-free life?"
Sciatica is NOT a specific condition itself, but rather the name that describes a set of symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve is irritated. These symptoms include shooting pain, numbness, and/or weakness that radiates along the sciatic nerve from the lower back (lumbar spine) to the buttocks and leg. The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy.
- Sciatica is a common condition, affecting 40% of the UK population at some point in their lifetime.
- Sciatica is nerve pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve
- The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, beginning in the spinal cord in the lower back and extending through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb (see image below)
- Sciatica becomes more common with age
- Sciatica is usually felt down one side of the body
What are the Main Causes of Sciatica?
It is extremely important to be seen by your Chiropractor to determine the underlying cause of your sciatica. After a thorough examination and assessment of your symptoms, a Chiropractor will be able to pinpoint the cause of the sciatic nerve irritation and ensure you receive the most suitable treatment.
1. A bulging or slipped disc which presses on the nerve
2. Degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis (the breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae) causing nerve irritation
3. Spondylolisthesis- a condition where a disk slips forward over the vertebra below it.
4. Pregnancy - hormones produced during pregnancy can cause ligaments to loosen up and stretch, which can potentially cause sciatic pain for some women.
5. Muscle spasm in the back or buttocks - when the muscle becomes so taught that it pinches the nerves (this is usually very temporary and the sciatic symptoms will disappear when the muscles relax again.
What Are The Common Risk Factors For Sciatic Nerve Pain?
- Age - people in their 30s and 40s have a higher risk of developing sciatica.
- Profession - jobs that require lifting heavy loads for long periods.
- Sedentary lifestyle - people who sit for long periods and are physically inactive are more likely to develop sciatica, compared with active people.
- Being overweight - Why? Increased weight can put pressure on your spine and lead to herniated discs. Even minor weight loss can reduce inflammation and pressure on the spine.
What Is The Best Treatment For Sciatica?
Dr Jonathan Cook, our founding Chiropractor with over 35 years of experience, has found the most successful way of treating Sciatica as outlined below...
- Initial treatment is to open up and widen the narrowed space through which the nerves pass. This can be achieved using Chiropractic adjustments and manipulation, using a specialised Chiropractic couch at The House Clinics which enables the Chiropractor to apply gentle, painless and controlled traction to the spine in three planes of movement: 1) flexion bending the spine forward 2) laterally, away from the painful side and 3) caudally, pulling the spine apart.
- This treatment is demonstrated in the video below. Often, 2-4 treatments will see significant improvement.
- Massage therapy can be an effective way to ease muscle spasm around the irritated nerves, increasing blood supply and promoting natural healing and pain relief.
- Core stretch and stability exercises to strengthen and support the spinal column, as well as lifestyle and postural advice, are an important part of the ongoing treatment of sciatica. Your Chiropractor can demonstrate these exercises to you and give you guidance on how to prevent sciatica from reoccurring.
If you are struggling with sciatica, we would love to help you!
You can call one of our Chiropractors to discuss your symptoms and to request a complimentary consultation.
Call 0117 942 0200 or BOOK ONLINE