If you have low back pain that radiates down your hip, glutes, and legs, you may be suffering from sciatica. Sciatica is a condition where the sciatic nerve (which extends from the low back down the legs) becomes compressed. The good news is sciatica is often an acute disorder, meaning that the symptoms aren't chronic and will often improve after a few weeks of rest. If sciatica is interfering with your day-to-day activities and not improving, you may want to seek out a chiropractor and try conservative treatments before resorting to a surgery. Here are just a few services that chiropractors offer that could help.
Spinal adjustments can correct misalignments in the spine that could be hindering posture and musculoskeletal function. Sometimes, a disc between the vertebrae can be out of alignment and actually compress the sciatic nerve. Your chiropractor may take x-rays or use thermographic scanners to pinpoint areas of the spine that need adjustments. Some chiropractors may palpate areas of the spine to locate misalignments and areas with restricted range of motion. Once problem areas are identified, your chiropractor will perform a gentle adjustment to correct the issue.
If you are chronically stressed, your muscles may be so tense that they place pressure on the sciatic nerve. When your body is stressed, you may have excess cortisol—a stress-related hormone. Cortisol can interfere with the production of anti-inflammatory processes, which means that it can be hard for sciatica to heal properly when you're stressed out since your body can't deal with inflammation properly. Massage therapy is a great way to relieve stress since it reduces cortisol output. Massage therapy is also beneficial since it improves blood flow and soothes tense muscles that can compress nerves. Your chiropractor may offer manual massage modalities, or they may offer massage therapy with specialized devices, like ultrasound or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units.
Sometimes, sciatica can be caused by excess weight since any extra pounds can place additional pressure on the pelvis and lower back. If a person has plateaued with weight loss but could benefit from losing more pounds, they may want to talk with a chiropractor about a dietary plan and exercise plan. Even a little bit of weight loss could help reduce inflammation and stress on the sciatic nerve. During nutritional counseling, your chiropractor might prescribe certain supplements, like omega-3 fatty acids, since these can decrease inflammation and improve body composition.
Reach out to a chiropractor care provider in your area today for more information.