Sciatica: Causes & Treatments
Sciatica is characterized by nerve pain originating in the buttocks or gluteal area. It affects the hip, lower back, and outer side of the leg. Sciatica is a common pain condition affecting around 40% of Americans. People with sciatica struggle with activities of daily living and report poor quality of life.
A common symptom of sciatica is a shooting pain along the sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain can worsen with movement, when sitting for long periods, or when coughing or sneezing. Though sciatica usually affects only one leg at a time, sciatica pain can sometimes occur in both legs. Some people with sciatica report experiencing numbness, muscle weakness, or a tingling sensation in the affected leg or foot. Change in posture can either aggravate or relieve pain.
In most cases, sciatica occurs when a herniated disk or a bone overgrowth puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Though rare, a tumor can also put pressure on the nerve. An injury, an infection affecting the spine, and conditions such as lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and cauda equina syndrome can also cause sciatica.
Some risk factors for sciatica include:
- Age: Age-related changes in the spine are among the most common causes of sciatica.
- Obesity: Extra body weight can increase pressure on the spine.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: If you sit for long periods and are physically inactive, you are at higher risk of sciatica.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can cause nerve damage, which can lead to sciatica.
- Occupation: A job that requires heavy lifting and twisting the back can increase one’s risk of sciatica.
When you receive a sciatica diagnosis, your doctor will give you at-home care tips. Maintain an active lifestyle and avoid lying in bed for prolonged periods, as it can worsen your pain.
Here are some treatment options for sciatica.
Sciatic chiropractic near Normandy Park can help alleviate sciatica symptoms. Sciatica is usually caused by a herniated disk. A chiropractor can use spinal manipulations to bring a herniated disk back into position. A 2015 review of multiple studies found that chiropractic care can relieve various types of back pain, including sciatica. Some benefits of chiropractic care include reduced pain and inflammation and improved range of motion.
Perform exercises that gently stretch your lower back. Consult your doctor before starting these exercises. Avoid pushing through pain. If you feel discomfort or pain while performing stretching exercises, stop immediately.
Massage therapy can stretch and loosen strained muscles. In addition, it can help reduce stress, a common cause of inflammation, by stimulating the body to release feel-good hormones and improve blood and nutrient circulation.
Ascent Chiropractic is a renowned chiropractic clinic in Normandy Park. Our chiropractic techniques focus on balancing the structure of the body so our patients can continue to partake in their favorite activities. To learn more, call (206) 241-3836.