Sciatic pain is characterized by discomfort that originates in the lower back and travels down one or both legs. It follows the path of the sciatic nerve, and the pain can be minimal, severe, infrequent, or constant – or anywhere in between.
The pain that you experience due to sciatica can be dull and achy or sharp, like an electrical shock. The pain can be caused by anything that applies pressure to your sciatic nerve, including herniated disc, bone spur, pregnancy, tumor, or constipation.
Your doctor can use a selection of chiropractic approaches in order to help relieve pain associated with sciatica. Chiropractic care is focused on the body’s own ability to heal and is a non-invasive treatment option. Some methods that may be used for sciatica include:
- Adjustments – Chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulation, helps to manually shift the vertebral bodies so that they are realigned and in their correct positions. This helps the spine to move more freely. Chiropractic adjustments reduce nerve irritability and can help to reduce sciatica related symptoms, such as muscle spasms and inflammation. An added benefit to patients is that chiropractic adjustments are not painful.
- Ice Therapy – Ice therapy, or cold therapy, is a direct way to reduce inflammation. This way of reducing inflammation can help to control sciatic pain. Your doctor will let you know how often you should apply ice to the area that needs it most.
- Ultrasound Therapy – Ultrasound therapy involves using sound waves in order to generate a gentle heat that is carried to your tissues. The heat in your tissues increases circulation, which reduces pain, reduces muscle spasms, and encourages healing in the targeted area.
- TENS – A TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit) stimulates muscles through electrical currents. The battery-powered machine uses different intensities to send the currents, which reduces muscle spasms.
Choosing a Treatment
Your doctor will take a look at your symptoms and your medical history in order to determine the best option for you when it comes to treatment. Sciatica can be tricky to diagnose since there are many possible causes and one patient’s experience with pain can differ greatly from another. For an accurate diagnosis, tests such as x-rays and CT scans might be necessary.