Understanding Sciatica

Understanding Sciatica - Featured Image

Recently, my neighbor mentioned to me that he had been diagnosed with sciatica by his medical doctor.  He had been sent for therapy, but the symptoms did not dissipate.  The next treatment recommended was cortisone shots in his lower back.  This too, did not give him any prolonged relief.  At the time of our conversation, he was getting his life in order for his upcoming back surgery that he was told was the “only option remaining.”


The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain as well as tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs.  These symptoms originate from the lower back and travel down a large nerve called the sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. 


It is important to note that sciatica is not truly a diagnosis in and of itself.  It is a symptom of an underlying condition.  Disc bulges or herniations, degenerative disc conditions, or any other spinal issues that place pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause it.


In searching for an answer to sciatica, one must determine why there is pressure on the nerve.  The next step, and probably the most ignored step, is to find out what is CAUSING the condition that has put pressure on the sciatic nerve.  Subluxation is THE most common CAUSE of disc bulging, degeneration, and herniation.  Subluxation also leads to a condition called stenosis that also puts dangerous levels of pressure on the spinal cord and sciatic nerve.


Cortisone shots will temporarily decrease inflammation, which for many, will lead to a temporary relief of sciatic symptoms.  Unfortunately, shots do nothing to remove nerve pressure, so their effectiveness is temporary at best.  On top of that, there are many serious and long lasting side effects of these types of treatments.  You are trading temporary relief for other more permanent and serious problems, such as bone demineralization/ weakness and elevation of blood pressure.


Chiropractic is really the only type of care that focuses on finding the CAUSE of nerve pressure.  With a proper course of chiropractic care, pressure can be removed from the nerve at its root.  This will relieve the symptoms of the nerve pressure and will also help to keep the condition from continuing to resurface.  We have also been able to show that chiropractic care can slow down the degenerative effects of spinal misalignment.  All of this without any negative side effects. 


Understanding what sciatica is and making more informed choices about what to do about it, can make a lifetime of difference.