Updated: Jan 23
Sciatica is more common than you may think. It can affect 10% - 20% of the population. But just because sciatica is relatively common that doesn't mean that it isn't a pain (both figuratively and literally) to deal with. If you are living with sciatica, you might be wondering if chiropractic care can help you to get some relief and go back to living your normal life, and the evidence shows that it can. Let's take a look at how a chiropractor can help you with your sciatic pain.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is the pain that you feel when your sciatic nerve gets pinched. The sciatic nerve is the longest in your body and there is one on each side of your body that runs from your lower back, through your hip, and down your leg. Sciatica can be felt at any point in the sciatic nerve, and its location depends on where the nerve is pinched. For some people, the pain is felt the entire way down.
Sciatica can also make the affected leg numb and weak, which can make it difficult for you to continue with your normal day-to-day activities. But sitting for long periods can make the pain worse. It is a difficult situation to be in. Most mild cases of sciatica will go away on their own, but for many people, some help from a health professional is needed to aid in healing.
The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc. This is when the jelly-like disc material between two of your vertebrae bulges out, where it can pinch your nerves, including the sciatic nerve. You may also experience sciatica if your spine is narrowed or if you have a bone spur.
How chiropractic care can help with sciatica
Chiropractic care is an effective method of treating sciatica. One study found that people with sciatica who were treated using chiropractic adjustments had a greater reduction in pain than people who had sham adjustments (pretend adjustments that weren't designed to do anything).
When you visit your chiropractor for the first time, they will carefully go through your medical history and your current condition to determine the best treatment plan for you. And this treatment plan can often comprise of many different treatments, depending on your needs.
If your sciatica is caused by a herniated disc, chiropractic adjustments can help to bring the disc material back into its proper place and realign your spine to help prevent it from happening again.
Your chiropractor may also offer:
Chiropractic exercises that are designed to strengthen your back muscles to better support your spine.
Chiropractic massage to reduce your pain and muscle soreness and increase circulation to the area.
Heat and cold therapy to reduce inflammation, muscles pain, and stiffness.
Stretches for your hip and hamstring to improve the range of motion in your legs.
Ultrasound and other modalities to directly reduce the pain.
Your chiropractor may also give you lifestyle recommendations and advice to help you heal from your sciatica more quickly and to help prevent it from coming back.
If you are dealing with sciatica, chiropractic care can help you to heal more quickly, reduce your pain, and improve your ability to move around. And it is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment choice that encourages your body to heal itself, so you don't need to worry about side effects.