Sciatica is a result of injury, irritation, or pressure to the sciatic nerve. It causes discomfort, numbness, weakness, and/or tingling in one or both legs. Sciatica is not a medical condition but a symptom of a medical problem, so it is important to get a diagnosis of the underlying problem before starting on treatment. We offer diagnosis and treatment for sciatica at our chiropractic clinics in Chester and North Wales. This article is a brief discussion of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of sciatica.
The sciatic nerve is the nerve that runs from the lower spine down to the back of the legs. It is responsible for controlling the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg. It also supplies sensation to the back of thigh, part of the lower leg, as well as the sole of the foot. The symptoms of sciatica depend on its severity and people describe them as anything from a mild tingling sensation, through a a dull ache to a severe burning sensation.
The pain may radiate from the lower back down to the back of the thigh and the back of the leg. Some patients’ symptoms are
severe enough to cause immobility. The symptoms often occur on one side and some patients feel a sharp pain in a part of the hip or the leg and numbness in other parts. The problem may also affect the calf or the sole and cause weakness to the affected leg.
Sciatic pain can be worse at night. The symptoms may be aggravated by certain activities such as sitting or standing; sneezing, coughing and/or laughing. Bending backwards may exacerbate the problem, especially if spinal stenosis has caused the sciatica. Bending forwards may aggravate it if it is caused by a disc herniation.
Because sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, it is important to know the cause. Piriformis syndrome, disc prolapse, lumbar facet irritation, spinal stenosis, spinal tumour and prostate cancer can all cause sciatica. Most cases of sciatica are not anything serious, but it is important to rule out underlying pathology.
In the short term you can achieve pain relief by applying heat or ice to the painful area or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. It is important to keep moving and we do not recommend bed rest. Your GP may offer you stronger pain relief. If the pain does not subside then you should seek a consultation with a chiropractor.
For a diagnosis, short term pain relief and a full rehabilitation programme to get to the root of the problem we recommend that you seek chiropractic help at one of our clinics in Chester or North Wales.