Back pains are common and occur at different points of the back. They can develop suddenly or slowly; they can also be long-lasting or short-lived. Back pain can be mild or severe leading to chronic back pain. While some cases of back pain may be cured using medications or through physiotherapy, severe cases require surgery. Sciatica is a form of back pain which occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve of the body system.
It runs along the lower back and through the buttocks, hips, legs and feet. The sciatic nerve controls sensation, movement, and balance. Sciatica is also called sciatic neuralgia, sciatic neuritis, or lumbar radiculopathy. Sciatica mostly occurs as a symptom to another medical condition. It affects movement movements that involve the lumbar region such as walking, sitting, bending and even standing.
Types of Sciatica
Sciatica can be classified into several forms depending on the location and severity of radicular pain. The condition has two main types: neurogenic sciatica and referred sciatica.
In this type of sciatica, radicular pain occurs due to the compression of the sciatic nerve or other nerves at the root of the lumbar spine. This compression may be caused by bulging discs or tight muscles. The amount of pressure on the nerves determines the accompanying symptoms. Radicular pains in the leg are, most times, more severe than back pains.
Referred sciatic pain is mostly caused by a muscle and joint problem in the pelvis and spine. Unlike neurologic sciatica, referred sciatica does not cause muscle weakness and numbness. The pain in some cases is worse in the back than in the leg. Before treatment or physiotherapy, it is important to determine the cause of the pain first.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica can be caused by some factors and medical conditions such as spinal disc herniation, pregnancy, spinal stenosis, and piriformis syndrome. Other causes of sciatica may include spondylolisthesis, abnormal spine movement, degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, tumour, and muscle strains.
Treatment for sciatica depends on the severity of the condition and the cause. Mild cases of sciatica may not require treatment as the pain subsides in a few days. Severe cases require physiotherapy and surgery as a last resort.
Spinal manipulation is a form of chiropractic treatment employed to provide relief for sciatic pain. The spine is freed from restrictions and the misaligned lumbar vertebrae are returned to their rightful position. Other forms of physiotherapy may also be employed to provide a wholesome treatment.
Medication for sciatica is required to provide relief from the radicular pain. Analgesics such as paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed. For best result, these medications are taken in conjunction with chiropractic care or physiotherapy.
This is rarely necessary as most people respond well to medications and physiotherapy. Surgery is considered when the symptoms do not improve with chiropractic care and physiotherapy. If the patient has bladder dysfunction due to spinal cord compression or spinal stenosis, surgery may be considered too. The exact surgical procedure is to be determined by your physician.
Better Help with Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy provide a wholesome approach to resolving sciatic pain. When combined with medications, healing is also accelerated. Contact us today for a better assessment of the condition and to commence therapy immediately.