How many of us know someone who has or is currently suffering from sciatica? Sciatica can range from being very mild to almost debilitating pain lasting anywhere from a few days to months or even years. People recognize sciatic pain as pain typically starting in the low back and traveling down the buttocks and into the back of the leg. This pain can be described as numbness, tingling, burning, or even cause weakness in the muscles of the leg. Traditional management of sciatic pain often times is over the counter medications (NSAIDS). If that doesn’t work, specialists look at treatments such as prescription pain killers, muscles relaxers, or even injections into the lumbar facet joints (joints between the vertebrae).
As a corrective chiropractor at NorthCoast Wellness Center I chose to look for what is causing the symptoms and aim to correct that, not just manage the symptoms. I’m looking at the bony structure of the low back and hips to see if they are biomechanically normal. All of the muscles and ligaments attach to the bony structure, so if the bones are out of place, this can cause the muscles to be tight and irritated as well. Think of this kind of like your car at home. If the wheels are not aligned then slowly the tires wear out, then the struts, the shocks, etc. When evaluating a patient with sciatica, we specifically are looking at the lumbar vertebrae (low back vertebrae), sacrum, and hips. Normal structure in these areas is as follows: nice and straight up and down from the front, but then from the side we need to have a nice C-shaped curve. We also evaluate to see if the hips are level and how the sacrum is positioned. The only way to know what this structure looks like is to be evaluated by a structural corrective chiropractor. Now, people always ask… how did theses structural shifts occur? People deviate from normal with trauma. People often think of big traumas like car accidents, falling down the stairs, slipping on ice, or even sports injuries. In our office in Carol Stream, we also see people suffering from repetitive movement (or lack of movement) injuries. Repetitive lifting at work or even constant sitting can lead to a loss of curve in the low back. The L3, L4, L5 nerve combine to form the sciatic nerve, so losing the curve can cause irritation to the sciatic nerve and as a result we see traveling pain into the leg. Realigning and correcting the spinal structure in the low back while working with the muscles can lead to resolving the sciatic pain without the use of medications, injections, or surgery. If someone you know is suffering from sciatica, share this information with them so they can find a corrective chiropractor near them who will be able to evaluate if corrective chiropractic care may help!