Sciatica and the Chiropractic Lifestyle
An all too common health complaint
The sciatic nerves are the largest (and longest) nerves of the body, reaching about the size of your thumb in diameter, and running down the back of each leg. When these nerves are irritated or affected by the inflammation of nearby soft tissues, doctors refer to this as sciatica.
One of the most common causes of sciatic leg pain is the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. It can be accompanied by the bulging or herniation of the soft pulpy discs which separate each spinal bone. This can irritate or put pressure on the sciatic nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord. The result can be an intense pain shooting down either or both legs.
In the past, treatment has involved pain medi-cations, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and even surgery. The chiropractic approach is to use carefully directed and controlled pressure to remove the interference from spinal structures. These chiropractic adjustments can be quite effective in reducing nerve irritation and its associated pain.
Sciatica, like other health problems that can be traced to the spine, often respond dramatically to the restoration of normal spinal function through conservative chiropractic care.
Research shows that when treated with chiropractic adjustments, sciatica has an 8-9% greater rate of recovery than if patients were to use therapy or standard medical care.
The largest nerves of the body
Pain is caused when the sciatic nerve roots are irritated, scraped, twisted, stretched or pinched as they exit the spine. Causes of the impairment may be chemical, physical or the emotional stress of everyday living. A full-blown sciatic flare-up can involve the entire sciatic nerve path resulting in symptoms of lower back pain, burning, cramping or numbness that radiates into the thighs, legs, ankles, feet and toes. Pain may also be limited to various points along the nerve, such as the buttocks, knee area and calf.