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8 Essential Facts to Know About Sciatica

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Sciatica can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness, and understanding its key facts can help you to navigate this condition more effectively. In this blog post, we will explore eight essential facts about sciatica, including its origins, symptoms, related conditions, and treatment options.

Understanding the essential facts about sciatica can empower individuals to make informed decisions regarding their treatment options. If you are experiencing sciatic pain, consulting with a Chiropractor can help you find a thorough and personalised approach to address your condition. Remember, prompt attention is necessary for severe or worsening symptoms.

1. Sciatica Can Originate in the Lower Back:

Compression or irritation of nerve roots between spinal levels L4 to S3 in the lower back can lead to sciatica. The sciatic nerve, formed by these nerve roots, extends down the leg, causing symptoms to follow this path.

2. Sciatica Describes a Set of Symptoms:

Sciatica is defined by a set of symptoms resulting from an underlying medical condition. These symptoms commonly include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

3. Sciatica Overlaps with Multiple Diagnoses:

Sciatica symptoms can occur due to various conditions that affect the lower back, such as herniated or degenerated lumbar discs, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis.

4. Sciatica Symptoms Differ Based on the Nerve Root:

The specific symptoms experienced with sciatica depend on the exact nerve root that is pinched or irritated. Commonly affected nerve roots are L5, causing foot weakness, and S1, resulting in intense pain along the back of the thigh.

5. Sciatica Can Be Described by Multiple Terms:

The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy. Additionally, it may be referred to as pinched or compressed nerve pain in the leg.

6. Sciatica Relief Typically Comes Quickly:

Many individuals with sciatica find significant relief in just a few treatment sessions once the area of nerve irritation or compression is addressed. This alleviation often occurs by freeing the nerve from being trapped or compressed against a muscle.

7. Sciatica-Like Symptoms Can Occur in Pelvic or Hip Conditions:

Sciatic-like pain can mimic true sciatica when there is degeneration or compression of the sciatic nerve or its branches in the pelvis, hip, thigh, or leg. An example of this is piriformis syndrome.

8. Serious Sciatica Symptoms Require Immediate Attention:

If experiencing red-flag symptoms such as bladder or bowel incontinence or severe and worsening leg pain, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms may indicate a serious medical condition.

How will we treat it?

- First, we’ll move your back, hips and legs around to see if we can reproduce the pain you’ve been experiencing. This will help us to isolate which portion of the sciatic nerve is irritated or which structure it is irritated by.

- If we find it’s compressed and irritated by a tight muscle or adhered to a muscle, we’ll be able to free this up with some assisted mobility work.

- Some patients receive immediate relief. For more chronic irritation we will free up a bit more with each repetition and may have to work through a few sessions to free up the irritation more comfortably.

- If you are in extreme discomfort and need a gentler approach we can start with a low dose of shockwave therapy to more gently begin breaking up the adhesions.

Whatever the case may be, we will find a thorough treatment option for you.

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