If you have been experiencing lower back and leg pain, you may be suffering from a condition known as sciatica. The human body has many nerves and neurons that make up the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. The spinal nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system made up of 31 pairs of nerves that branch off of your spinal cord. The sciatic nerve is the longest of the spinal nerves and extends from the lower spine down to your feet.
The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve and is typically caused by irritation or compression. Typical symptoms range from a mild ache to extreme discomfort and may also include a sharp, burning sensation, numbness, weakness, or tingling. If you have been experiencing this type of pain, there are a few treatment options available.
- Pain Medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen, can help provide some relief to those with occasional sciatica pain. For those who experience muscle spasms, prescription muscle relaxants may be prescribed. Antidepressants may help those who experience chronic low back pain, as well as prescription medication for more severe pain.
- Physical Therapy. Depending on what is causing your sciatica symptoms, a physical therapist will help you with exercises that reduce the pain and also condition your body, so the sciatica pain is lessened or does not return.
- Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic care aims to improve the alignment of the spine using manual manipulation techniques such as massage therapy, lumbar spinal traction, and chiropractic adjustments. This treatment may help address the underlying cause of sciatic nerve pain, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spaces within your spine.
- Surgery. Surgery is usually performed as a last resort. Only a small number of patients with sciatica will require surgery with the objective being to remedy the cause of the pain.
If your daily life has been affected due to sciatica pain and you would like to find out more about treatment options, please call us at Advanced Chiropractic Center to schedule an evaluation today!