Have you ever experienced sciatic pain or known someone who as? Is it getting on your nerves (quite literally) by interfering with day to day activities? Chiropractors deal with sciatic problems on a regular basis, helping people get back to doing what they enjoy. There are many causes of irritation to the sciatic nerve leading to inflammation and pain, that require different methods of treatment to heal.

What is the sciatic nerve?

The sciatic nerve is made up of 5 spinal nerves from L4 to S3, it is mostly responsible for controlling sensation and muscles from the lower back and buttocks down the back of the leg and into the sole of the foot.

What is sciatica and how do I know if I have it?

Sciatica is a symptom of irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. There are a number of different areas that contribute to sciatic pain as mentioned above. Therefore not everyone will experience the same areas or pain or discomfort even though they may all have sciatica.

Pain, weakness or altered sensation may be noticed in the following areas:

• Lower back
• Buttocks
• Back of the thigh
• Back of the calf
• Sole of the foot and along the side of the foot on the side of your little toe

One or more of the above may be experienced by someone who has sciatica.

What could be causing my sciatica?

A chiropractor will find the cause of your sciatica based on your presentation as it may come from a number of areas in the spine as we discussed above. The way in which it is inflamed or irritated could be  compression of the nerve from a disc injury or following damage to a ligament nearby that causes swelling. Compression by the piriformis muscle (which lies underneath the glutes) a muscle composing of two separate bands which are intersected by the sciatic nerve may also cause sciatica. The mechanism of this compression is similar to that of squeezing a hose between two fingers to stop water running through it. Arthritis in the lower back may also cause sciatic pain as the degeneration of bone reduces space around the nerve and it only takes a small reduction of space for the nerve to become irritated.

How does a chiropractor help someone with sciatica?

The Chiropractor will first perform a number of tests with you to find out where the complaint is coming from. When they find the cause they will create a plan of action to correct the cause. The aim is to reduce the irritation or inflammation of the nerve in order for it to heal and send the information it needs to the various areas of skin and muscles it is responsible for controlling. The Chiropractor will use a variety of adjusting techniques and soft tissue techniques in order to achieve the goals you set together.

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