Sciatica symptoms are one of the most common reasons that someone will visit a chiropractor. Most people find some small degree of lower back pain to be fairly manageable. But when that back pain starts to feel more severe, especially when it is followed by additional pain and weakness that radiates down the leg, most people seek help from a practitioner in chiropractic medicine.
The first thing the chiropractor will do is look for the cause of sciatica. Chiropractic medicine focuses on the spine, so the chiropractor will examine your spine for possible causes of sciatica. The most common causes include:
Herniated Disc - This occurs when one of the discs in your spine weakens under pressure, and the inside of the disc protrudes through the outside of the disc, onto your sciatic nerve.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - This is a disease characterized by a narrowing of the discs of your spine, leading to increased pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Degenerative Disc Disease - This is simply a breakdown in the tissues and cartilage of your spine, caused primarily by aging.
Stress Fractures - Stress fractures, especially those caused by trauma, are also possible causes of sciatica symptoms.
Once you have been examined by the chiropractic expert, they will then decide the right treatment options for you based on your health and age group. Chiropractors generally stay away from most medicines, and instead focus on less invasive ways of reducing the sciatica symptoms. Some of the possible treatment options your chiropractic specialist may consider include:
Standard Ice/Cold Therapy - This is designed to reduce inflammation.
Ultrasound Therapy - This is designed to improve blood circulation to reduce swelling.
Adjustments - Chiropractors will try to adjust your spinal column to reduce pressure.
TENS - Chiropractic specialists will use a muscle stimulating device to reduce spasms.
In some cases the practitioner may also find that the symptoms are being caused by something more serious, such as severe trauma or a tumor. In these cases, the chiropractor will refer to you to the appropriate specialist.
Chiropractors may also be useful for sciatica prevention. Spinal adjustments and postural assessments may be helpful for individuals that are putting extra pressure on their spinal cord in a way that may result in extra pressure on the discs in the spine. Catching these early and responding accordingly can help individuals reduce the stress on their back and possibly prevent sciatica symptoms in the future.