Chiropractic for Sciatic Pain: Does it work?
Sciatic can be a pain in the butt…literally. Sciatic pain is no fun. If you have experienced it then you know what I am talking about. With this type of pain the sciatic nerve which is the largest nerve in the body, can become entrapped or not move correctly thus causing pain. There are many structures involved that could be affecting this nerve and we will get into the hows soon. Chiropractic is one solution to this type of pain. Adjustments are one facet of chiropractic care. Other treatments include trigger point therapy and forms of nerve mobilization that helps to mobilize the nerve.
Getting to the nitty gritty now. The how behind why you feel sciatic nerve pain.
The sciatic nerve is formed from lumbar and sacral nerves. So understanding anatomy in detail will help to understand why this nerve gets impacted the way it does. Below is a picture of where the sciatic nerves come together to form.
This is super important to know because if you notice the muscle near the nerve on the left as you are looking at the picture, it is very near the sciatic nerve. This is one area where the nerve can get entrapped and you start to feel the tingling and pain. This type of pain can be really bad when you sit for long periods of time because the pressure is being applied even more when you sit down.
One way to get rid of this entrapment is to get trigger point therapy specifically geared towards the piriformis muscle. This doesn’t feel the greatest at first but it will lessen the tingling and pain from the entrapment.
Another way that the sciatic nerve can be affected is bulging or herniated discs. This type of pain is specific to the level of the disc. So if the disc affected is L5 then the S1 nerve will be affected which follows a certain path into the leg and foot. This type of pain can be debilitation because you have the back pain from the disc as well as the leg pain. Conservative treatment should be tried first to help the disc heal and the nerve. It is said that at any given time roughly 50% of people walk around with disc bulges or herniations, but some don’t feel pain at all besides discomfort.
Certain chiropractic techniques, such as flexion distraction, focus on the low back and disc pain. These types of treatments will take about 8-12 visits to see noticeable results but it can help with the really sharp acute pain of a disc herniation.
Along with adjustments certain maneuvers can be utilized to free up the nerve. Nerve mobilizations help to free up the restrictions that may be present with the bulging/herniated disc.
These types of treatments should be tried first before considering surgery. Surgery is an option for this type of pain but with chiropractic or physical therapy the surgery can be abated. Conservative treatments are successful most of the time if performed by a competent Doctor. Finding the right fit is key for your condition!
I would love to know your thoughts on the subject!