Sciatica Q & A
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest of all of the nerves in the human body, other than the spinal cord itself. It leaves the spine and travels down, through the small foramen in the sacrum, into the legs and down into the feet. Sciatica results when the nerve itself becomes irritated. This can occur as the small foramen in the sacrum begin to narrow, or it can occur anywhere along its length where it becomes trapped between muscle or muscle and bone. Irritation to the sciatic nerve will gradually affect the entire nerve pathway unless it is corrected.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica will range in severity according to the amount of irritation that is present. In the early stages, mild irritation can cause tingling and numbness in certain affected areas. As the irritation increases and inflammation begins to appear, the numbness will worsen, much life when a hand “falls asleep”. When blood flow is restored to the area, either through movement or a chiropractic adjustment and massage, the feeling of “pins and needles” will present itself as the tissues begin to wake up. If the condition is not treated, the symptoms will continue to worsen. Neuropathy or nerve pain will eventually become a symptom, in addition to the ones experienced in the beginning.
How is Sciatica Treated?
Sciatica is treated by reducing the irritation to the nerve and eliminating as much of the inflammation as possible. Oral medications can be of some use, but they only treat the symptoms. To treat sciatica effectively, the cause must be addressed. Chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue massage, and physical therapy can all be used in conjunction with one another to relieve the pressure of a pinched nerve. They can also be effective at helping to promote healing if a surgical procedure is needed to widen the opening of the foramen that the nerve passes through as it moves down the leg.