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Chiropractic for Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It begins in your low back then splits to run down the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. Sciatica refers to pain that is felt along this nerve path. It may also present as numbness, tingling, or weakness of the leg. Sciatica occurs when there is pressure on the sciatic nerve which can be caused by the following conditions:

  • Lumbar disc bulge or disc herniation

  • Vertebral subluxation

  • Piriformis syndrome

  • Bone spur

  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

Chiropractic adjustments and decompression can relieve sciatic symptoms by removing pressure put on the sciatic nerve by nearby structures.

Spinal decompression can relieve sciatic pain caused by a disc bulge. By tractioning the spine, pressure on the disc is reduced, promoting retraction or repositioning of the bulged or herniated disc material. This allows the disc to in turn remove pressure put on the sciatic nerve. Lowering the pressure on the disc also allows the influx of healing nutrients to enter the disc allowing it to heal quicker.

Adjustments to the hips and lumbar spine correct misaligments of the vertebra (subluxations) that can increase pressure on nearby nerves, including the sciatic nerve. A vertebra misaligns when trauma or stress is encountered. This could be anything from a fall or car accident to repetitive postures like sitting on your wallet or doing a lot of driving. Adjustments are the only way to correct these subluxations.

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the sciatic nerve is compressed by spasms of the piriformis muscle located in the gluteal region of the pelvis. Trigger point therapy and stretches can relieve sciatic symptoms that are caused by piriformis syndrome.

Bone spurs and spinal stenosis require imaging (x-ray/MRI) to diagnose. Chiropractic relief of sciatic pain caused by these conditions may vary depending on the severity of the spur or stenosis.


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