Since the pain seems to affect your hips and legs, you may wonder: Can a chiropractor help with sciatica pain? The simple answer is that most of the time, a chiropractor can indeed help. However, to understand the reason why we need to discuss what causes the pain of sciatica. We will all address a specific form of chiropractic that many patients have found beneficial when it comes to lower back problems.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a painful condition that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body. Since the nerve is so big, the indicators and the location of the pain and other symptoms may vary from patient to patient.
The sciatic nerve begins in the lower spinal cord, between the bottom three vertebrae of the lumbar spine and the top two bones of the sacral spine. After bunching altogether, the nerve divides back into two and travels down both legs. As a result, there can be many symptoms of sciatica.
There are several symptoms of sciatica. Depending on the location and severity of the nerve compression, you may experience varying degrees of any or all of these symptoms.
- Pain – This is the symptom that most people will tell you about first if they have sciatica. For some patients, pain is constant. For others, the pain may change depending on movement or position. Descriptors used regarding sciatic pain also vary. Some describe it as shooting pain, a sharp pain, or a burning sensation. While pain often occurs in the hips or buttocks, it can also occur in the leg on the affected side. The calf area is the most common location for any leg pain. Less commonly, pain can affect both sides.
- Weakness – The leg and foot of the impacted side of the body may become weak. The foot may feel heavy, making it tougher to move the affected side when walking.
- Altered sensations – You may feel numbness and tingling from the hip to as far as the foot on the affected side. Pins and needles is another possible sensation.
How Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica Pain?
If you haven’t suffered a lower back injury, you may wonder how correcting misalignments with chiropractic care will be able to render any benefit for your sciatica. The main idea is that the sciatic nerve stems from the spinal cord. When misalignments occur, the surrounding soft tissue can also shift. A disc may bulge. Any of this could be what is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Therefore, the temporary relief you receive from ibuprofen, stretching, ice, or other methods is only temporary. You need to remove the source of the compression. Chiropractic can be the long-term solution that eliminates the underlying factor leading to your sciatic nerve pain and additional symptoms.
That makes sense. We’re looking at an underlying problem. But let’s take things one step further. What is causing your back to misalign, your disc to bulge, or your soft tissue to shift? The problem may not be in your back at all, but rather, in your neck. That’s why we would like to introduce you to the benefits of upper cervical chiropractic care.
Can Upper Cervical Chiropractic Really Help Sciatica?
The short answer is yes, but you are probably going to want an explanation as to how adjustments of the top two bones in the neck are going to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve. After all, we already discussed the location of this nerve – starting in the lower back and running down the legs.
First of all, we need to recognize that spine health flows from the top down. If the bones that are balancing the head are out of alignment, the body is going to shift whatever it needs to in order to keep your head on straight. That means shifting bone and soft tissue. In fact, when a person is suffering from a C1 or C2 misalignment, the fastest way to tell is by measuring the patient’s legs while he or she is lying down. Consider the following progression:
- The C1 and C2 become misaligned
- Other neck bones shift to compensate
- The upper spine shifts to compensate for changes in the neck and this leads to one dropped shoulder
- Now the lower back now has to compensate, and one of the hips is pulled up resulting in differning leg lengths
- These shifts in the lower back can put pressure on the sciatic nerve or cause a disc problem that leads to sciatic nerve compression
- Pain occurs in the lower back and down one leg, but nothing helps for long because the real problem is in the top two bones of the neck – no matter what you do, the body shifts back into this stressed position to keep the head properly balanced
Find an Upper Cervical Chiropractor Near You
The Upper Cervical Awareness website is designed to help you find one of our preferred doctors in your area. The next step is up to you. Contact an upper cervical practice and schedule a no-obligation consultation to learn if this is the right way to get help for your sciatica symptoms. You may be surprised to find out that the answer to the question, “Can a chiropractor help with sciatica?” is yes, and even more surprised to find out that the key to removing the nerve compression is a precise and gentle adjustment of the top two bones in the neck.