Sciatica represents a special kind of pain that occurs when the sciatic nerve grows inflamed or irritated. People who encounter problems with sciatica can consult a chiropractic doctor in Escondido.
The sciatic nerve is essential in the body. It is the largest nerve. It originates from nerve roots of the spinal cord in the lower back and continues down through the foot. The nerves in our human body have a vital function. They relentlessly receive and send signals that regulate feeling (sensation) and function (movement). Therefore, the sciatic nerve generates both strength and sensation to the legs and feet.
Any trouble in the lower part of the spine can produce a negative impact on one of the nerve bundles that feed into the sciatic nerve. Symptoms of sciatica often differ depending on the location of the affected nerve and the level of irritation or compression. Even when sciatic pain seems to appear or disappear, the pain of sciatica often persists until the root cause of the problem is solved.
First Signs of Sciatica
In many documented cases, sciatica only affects one side of the lower body. The pain begins as a cramp or a slight pain in the lower back. Then it extends down through the backside of the thigh and into the toes. The pain depends on the location of the problem along the pathway of the nerve.
For many individuals, sciatica symptoms are irregular, rare, and mildly annoying. For others, sciatica can be unbearable and severe, causing soreness, numbness, and weakness. The ache can be burning, sharp, or piercing rather than a dull ache. The most common sciatica symptoms are the following:
- Lower back pain
- Shooting pain that makes standing up difficult
- Pain that worsens when sitting
- Hip pain
- Buttocks or leg pain
- Tingling or burning sensation down the leg
- Numbness or weakness in the affected foot or leg
What Causes Sciatica?
When the pain of sciatica appears, its roots can be:
Degenerative Disc Disease
In between each vertebra of the lower back is a disc. It protects and cushions the spine as it moves. Each disc has a gel-like center that is within rings of durable, more fibrous tissue. When the discs begin to degenerate, the inner nucleus substance can start to shove through the outer layers and cause a swollen or herniated disc. The herniated disc material can push on adjacent nerve roots, initiating sciatic nerve irritation, inflammation, numbness, pain, and weakness.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
This causes a tightening of the central canal that the spinal cord itself goes through. This condition is more widespread in older adults and is a consequence of degeneration that happens over time if the spine is not functioning perfectly due to misalignment or injury.
Otherwise known as bone spurs, they occur as part of the degenerative process. It can put pressure or irritation on any of the nerves that merge to form the sciatic nerve.
Sciatic nerve pressure from the piriformis muscle
This muscle links the sacrum (the triangle-shaped bone at the base of the spine) to the femur (thigh bone) and controls hip rotation and movement. The passageway of the sciatic nerve brings it underneath this muscle. If the piriformis has muscle spasm or injury, it has the potential to constrict the nearby sciatic nerve, which causes classic symptoms of sciatica.
Sciatica is a common grievance during pregnancy, particularly in the later months as the fetus grows and puts more pressure and weight on the lumbar spine. Pregnancy-related sciatica is often relieved when the baby is born. More so, when the lower back and pelvis follow a regular course of healing and recovery.
It occurs when one vertebra, usually in the lower back, slides forward over the vertebra beneath it. There are various reasons why spondylolisthesis may occur – some people are born with this abnormality, and it can also be a result of spinal degeneration, injury, or trauma. This displacement can aggravate spinal nerve roots and cause throbbing pain that radiates along the course of the sciatic nerve.
Getting Deeper With the Term Sciatica
The term sciatica comes from a Greek term that means “pain in the hips.” The discomfort or pain ranges from minimal to disabling. Such a sensation can cause numbness, tingling, or severe muscle weakness. An underlying condition can cause sciatica, and it could be more profound than you might typically think.
Sciatic pain, in general, improves within 4 to 6 weeks. However, numbness and weakness may still take longer to resolve. Symptomatic treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, cold packs, stretching, and physical therapy may help ease discomfort and encourage the return to normal activities.
Surgery can take the pressure off the nerve (called spinal decompression). For cases of progressive nerve damage, extreme pain, and cases that fail to respond to traditional care, surgery is the final resort.
However, always take heart with the knowledge that there can be a newer and more natural way to relieve sciatica pain. This natural way is even painless and often called “the gentle way.”
The Gentle Way to Care for Sciatica
Many patients with sciatica are more inclined to look for solutions to specific areas where they feel pain.
For this reason, most people would not even suspect that the neck needs inspection and consideration. Getting the help of a chiropractic doctor in Escondido to check your neck to address sciatica isn’t often the first thing people do.
Upper cervical chiropractic care has successfully provided a solution to many sciatica patients. It has helped identify and correct a frequently overlooked cause of their pain-filled condition. Every upper cervical chiropractic doctor in Escondido focuses on precisely adjusting and realigning the atlas, the uppermost vertebra in the spinal column.
A misalignment in the atlas (C1) can inspire a trickle-down effect that leads to sciatica. Upper cervical care focuses on addressing the leading cause of the symptoms of sciatica right at its root.
Consult our chiropractic doctor in Escondido to learn more about upper cervical chiropractic care. Our doors here at Rickards Precision Chiropractic & Wellness is widely open for all sciatica patients. We offer obligation-free consultation that can be the first necessary step toward your sciatica relief.