Sciatica is leg pain, numbness, or tingling, that originates in your low back. And wow can it hurt! The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It is made up of individual branches (or nerve roots) in your lower back that combine to form the sciatic nerve which then travels down into your leg. Sharp pain, which can increase when sitting, and weakness in your leg/foot making it difficult to walk, are a few common symptoms that pop up when the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated. When a nerve is compressed or irritated by a spinal disc, bone spur, or ligament, it can become inflamed and painful. Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column), disc herniations, or degenerative disk disease are other common causes of sciatica.
So here is the easiest way to understand sciatica. Think of your nerves like power lines. They carry signals from the power station, your central nervous system, out to every muscle, organ, and cell in your body. The power lines, or nerves, in your low back travel down your hips, buttocks, and legs to your feet. If the nerve gets irritated at the power station, then it will affect everything along the path of the power line. That is why a spinal disc irritating a nerve in your low back can result in pain down into your leg!
It’s easy to understand how lifting a heavy object at work could injure your back, pinch a nerve and cause sciatica. But, surprisingly, research has shown that too much sitting may be the number one reason for sciatica, not to mention the worst thing for your back. Sciatica can severely impact your quality of life. But rest assured that you don’t need to immediately resort to medications, injections, or surgery to correct the problem. Top research publications have shown that risky drugs are rarely more effective than a chiropractic adjustment. Starting with chiropractic care is both a safe and smart decision!
Research has shown that 89% of patients who were suffering from sciatica responded very well to chiropractic adjustments. If you’ve thought about therapy, here is something to consider: a recent research paper found 20% more patients experienced relief with chiropractic adjustments and exercise than exercise alone. So it is a combination of both chiropractic and physical therapy that give the best results. And that is exactly what we do here at Carney Chiropractic Center!
Take action by setting a daily schedule of exercise. If time is tight, take a few minutes every hour at work to walk around the office. Remember, starting small is better than not starting at all. And, as days become weeks, months, and years; the exercise that you do now will pay huge dividends down the road to keep you happy, healthy, and pain-free. Just like your local power company needs to perform maintenance on their equipment, you should also perform maintenance on your body. Getting adjusted has been shown to increase your flexibility and range of motion, help keep your spinal discs healthy, and could even prevent future episodes of back pain! Maintenance care today can go a long way towards a more youthful and happier tomorrow.