Sciatica is one of the more common back pain complaints that bring patients to a chiropractor. It presents as a set of symptoms, including pain, usually beginning in the lower back. The pain often travels down the leg. Patients also report numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or difficulty moving or controlling the leg.
Sciatica is actually a descriptive term. It is a diagnostic term that describes the likely origin of the pain. It doesn’t explain what is causing the pain, which is of much greater importance. When a patient has pain, they visit their medical doctor and learn that they have “sciatica.” The doctor prescribes medication of some sort for the short-term. The patient feels they are headed in the right direction. Unfortunately in some people the pain just doesn’t go away.
It is far more important to understand what is irritating the nerve and causing the pain the patient is experiencing. Unfortunately, as we often see, just naming a condition gives us no further information of what is actually occurring within the body. Compression of the lower lumbar nerve roots are the main cause of sciatica.
Let’s look at a few conditions that cause sciatic pain symptoms.
Spinal disc bulge — The disc bulge presses on one of the sciatic nerve roots. The bulge may cause inflammation of surrounding tissue, which may result in further compression of the nerve root.
Spinal Stenosis — Is a condition where the spinal canal or IVF (the opening the nerve roots pass through) narrows and compresses the spinal cord and/or sciatic nerve roots. This narrowing can be caused by bone, inflammation or bulging disc. This condition decreases the available space for the spinal cord or nerve root, thus causing irritation to the sciatic nerves.
Spinal Subluxations/Misalignment — When one or more of the lower vertebrae of the lumbar spine moves into an incorrect position it may cause unwanted pressure on one of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve, causing the familiar sciatic pain.
Piriformis syndrome — Is a condition where the sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle rather than beneath it. During a muscle spasm, it may compress the sciatic nerve.
Lifestyle Habits — Things like sitting on a wallet, standing for prolonged hours every day or wearing a heavy tool belt can lead to sciatic pain. These poor habits can cause significant misalignment of vertebrae in the lower spine over long periods of time.
If a patient’s sciatic pain symptoms are determined to be caused by a herniated or bulging disc, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis or facet syndrome, there is a good likelihood that the patient may be a candidate for chiropractic care, physical therapy or even non-surgical spinal decompression. Non-surgical spinal decompression delivers real pain-relief and true healing in a way that no other treatment can. Dr. Fichter has 20 years of experience dealing with these types of conditions at Natural Spine Solutions in Coeur d’Alene.
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.