In today’s high-paced online world, many Americans find themselves sitting for long periods and suffering from pain caused by bad posture, prolonged periods of sitting, and moving the body too little. Other professions like construction or manual labor, may require a lot more physical strain that also has repercussions.
Moving too little and moving incorrectly are two of the most common sources of pain. Bodies in motion and at rest need maintenance and proper healing protocols when things go wrong. Sciatica is a common and yet poorly understood source of pain that affects at least 40% of the population at least once in their lifetime. A chiropractor can be a good entryway to understanding your sciatic pain and even eliminating it.
The Sciatic Nerve — The Source of the Pain
The sciatic nerve is long. It runs from the glutes all the way to the foot. It is part of a group or plexus of nerves called the lumbosacral plexus. This nerve is important as it supplies major areas of the thigh, lower leg, and foot and supports much of the mobility in that region. Normally, the sciatic nerve is well shielded by the protection of the buttocks and cannot be felt easily.
Understanding Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatic pain is often spoken about as just another type of back pain, but there are some differences to note. Because the nerve begins in the lower lumbar spine and runs down the entire leg, a pinch in the nerve can cause shooting pain that extends. When nerves or fibers of the nerves become pinched, the pain will generally manifest as traveling down the leg and feel like a shock, stabbing, or piercing pain. Sciatic pain is not always because of a herniated disk, but this is a common culprit.
Pain severity varies by case but can be anything from a throbbing annoying pain to unbearable discomfort.
Common Symptoms of Sciatica
Diagnosing sciatic nerve pain is an essential first step to understanding the source and cause of your pain. The pain can follow trauma, a slipped disk injury, or it can arise after prolonged periods of bending or sitting.
The symptoms typically include the following:
- Pain that originates in the back or buttock and shoots down the leg and even into the foot
- Pain after standing for long periods of time
- Pain when sitting or during movements that require flexing the spine
- The relief of symptoms when walking, lying down, and extension of the spine
- Burning or tingling sensations
- Constant pain on one buttock
- Difficulty standing up due to pain
How a Chiropractor Can Treat Your Sciatic Nerve Pain
The good news about this is that sciatic nerve pain can be treated without invasive treatments and often goes away within a few weeks or months. A chiropractor aims to help your body heal by relieving pressure, correcting posture, etc.
Some of the treatments a chiropractor might perform for sciatica include:
- Spinal adjustments: A chiropractor focuses on manipulating and adjusting the spine. These movements help restore misaligned aspects of the spine and put them back into place. This will release pressure and restore the healthy flow of blood, which helps with inflammation.
- Ultrasound: This gentle heat treatment creates sound waves that penetrate deep into tissues. Ultrasound treatment can propel circulation and reduce muscle spasms and swelling.
- Heat and Cold therapies: Using heat and cold therapies strategically help stimulate the body’s healing mechanisms to accelerate healing.
Sciatica is also a common malady because it doesn’t have to be kickstarted by trauma or injury. Many people find that one day they begin to feel the shooting pain. When the area is overused or underused, the muscle fibers react. This causes a trigger point or muscle knot.
Modern Trends Contributing to Back Pain
According to Forbes, 13 studies concluded “sitting time and activity levels found in those that sit for more than 8 hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risk of dying posed by obesity and smoking.” Sitting in a bad posture for long periods of time compresses the disks and increases the risk of herniated disk—which in turn increases the chances for sciatic pain.
Prevention and strengthening exercises are key in avoiding this pain or exacerbating it. Prevention measures include:
- Stretching and regular exercise
- Implementing foam rollers
- Using a standing desk to vary position if sitting for too long
- Avoid bending with bad form or picking up heavy objects incorrectly
Find Relief With Non-Invasive Chiropractic Treatments
Don’t live with pain. Your body has an incredible power to heal itself. With only some encouragement and realignment, you might find pain decreasing. With mild sciatica, you can find relief without having to turn to powerful painkillers or surgery. Every case is different but a chiropractor can help your back feel better.
Call Southwest Chiropractic and schedule your appointment today.