Understanding the Pain of Sciatica

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Sciatica is a medical condition known for pain that radiates down the front, back, or outside of the leg. Generally, only one side is affected. The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in the body, about the size of the small finger. It goes from the lower back through the buttocks and down each leg. Five spinal nerve roots attach the sciatic nerve to the spine. The sciatic nerve is responsible for relaying messages to the nervous system about overall function of the lower extremities.

The following are common symptoms of sciatica:

  • Weakness and/or pain in the leg or foot
  • Numbness
  • Problems moving the leg
  • A tingling or pins and needles sensation
  • Pain in the lower back region and buttocks

When sciatica happens, it indicates that there is a compression or irritation of one of the five spinal nerve roots. What can cause this to occur?

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Weight from pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Spinal disc herniation
  • Tumors
  • Injury from a vehicle or similar accident

How to Find Relief for Sciatica

Many people turn to medication to find a way to cope with sciatic pain. While this can have some benefits, it does not address the underlying cause. Therefore, sciatica may go away temporarily but is likely to return. A better idea is to try to treat the underlying cause.

Often, the pain of sciatica is connected to a misalignment in the upper neck. Although it may be hard to believe, the upper neck vertebrae can affect the lower back area. This is because a misalignment of only ¼ of a millimeter in the upper neck causes the body to compensate. This compensation throws off a person’s posture and can lead to irritation of the sciatic nerve.

Once this misalignment is corrected by an upper cervical chiropractor who is trained in treating sciatica patients, often the pain and discomfort of sciatica go away. Our patients report feeling much better overall, sometimes after just one adjustment.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.