Sciatica is a feeling of pain, numbness, or tingling that occurs due to a pinched sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is massive and extends from the lower back down each leg. As a result, sciatica can cause different symptoms from patient to patient depending on the part of the nerve being compressed. The following symptoms are the most common:
- Pain on one or both sides of the lower back (usually one) that radiates down the leg
- Sitting increases pain levels
- Standing or walking may become difficult due to the pain
- A burning sensation that radiates down one leg
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling that starts in the lower back and radiates down the leg (it may reach the foot and toes in rare cases)
The location at which the nerve is pinched will dictate the symptoms that occur. The most common causes are disc problems or spinal arthritis. However, you may be surprised to learn that these problems can originate in the neck. Consider the following.
How the Neck Affects Sciatica and the Lower Back
When the C1 and C2 (top two bones in the neck) are out of alignment, the rest of the back shifts to compensate. This is because the C1 and C2 balance the head, and the body makes adjustments to keep the eyes level with the horizon. As a result, disc problems may begin to occur in the neck but also throughout the spine. Where the largest changes take place, the most damage and pain occurs. This is often in the lower back, particularly in the lumbar spine where the sciatic nerve begins.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care Helps with Sciatica?
Upper cervical chiropractic focuses specifically on precisely locating C1 and C2 misalignments and uses gentle adjustments to correct these. Thus, the body has the opportunity to heal from nerve and tissue damage, and changes that took place lower on the spine to compensate can return to normal. Many find that this relieves lower back pain on a more long-term basis than other remedies.