IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE : We’re here to support accident victims and to continue to provide superior care for those in need during this ongoing crisis Learn More

Sciatica Chiropractor

Sciatica is a common source of pain for many people. If you struggle with chronic pain and discomfort, it can start to impact your quality of life. Pain in your lower back and legs can keep you from going about your normal routine and participating in activities that you enjoy. If left untreated, sciatica can lead to chronic pain and weakened muscles. Chiropractors at AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta offer comprehensive care for those who are struggling with sciatica. Chiropractic care offers a natural treatment option for people who are dealing with sciatica. This type of treatment provides pain relief without using medication and is considered a safe and conservative approach to managing sciatica. If you are looking for a “chiropractor for sciatica near me”, then visit AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta.

What Is Sciatica?

You might be wondering, “What exactly is sciatica?” Sciatica refers to a specific type of pain that occurs when your sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed. When the sciatic nerve is aggravated, it can cause pain in your lower back, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica commonly affects one side of your body, and the pain can spread from your lower back into one or both legs. People with sciatica describe the pain as a burning or sharp stabbing sensation that shoots through your buttocks, hip, and into the leg. Sciatica can also cause muscle weakness and numbness in the area, commonly referred to as “pins and needles.” Sciatica is the term for a specific type of pain you experience with an injury or issue that affects the sciatic nerve.

How the Sciatic Nerve Works

The sciatic nerve affects your ability to control movements in your legs and experience sensation in your lower extremities. When the sciatic nerve is functioning properly, motor and sensory functions like walking, running, and feeling sensations in your legs are made possible. Injury or damage to the sciatic nerve can impact the lower half of your body. The sciatic nerve is located in your lower back and extends down the back of each leg. This is actually the largest neve in your body, and it travels through your pelvis, into your buttocks, and along the back of your thighs and calves. Injury or aggravation to the sciatic nerve can cause pain that comes and goes or pain that becomes long-lasting and chronic.

What Causes Sciatica?

Several conditions and injuries can lead to sciatica. Here are examples of what can cause sciatica.

Spine Injury

An injury to the lower back can impact your spine and the nerves surrounding it. The sciatic nerve is located toward the base of your spine in your lower back. A sudden blow to the spine could damage the sciatic nerve. Car accident injuries can impact the lower back and lead to sciatica pain. Sports injuries can also result in sciatica, especially injuries to the lower back suffered in high-contact sports and activities. A spine injury can affect the vertebrae, spinal discs, or soft tissues that support your spine. Nearby muscles and other soft tissues may become inflamed due to an injury, which can put pressure on nerves like the sciatic nerve. If you suffer an injury to your lower back, you may experience sciatica along with other symptoms.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is a common cause of sciatica. The spinal discs that separate vertebrae in your spine are supposed to provide cushion and support. General wear and tear on the body or a sudden injury can lead to a herniated disc. Each spinal disc has a tough outer shell that protects a jelly-like inner nucleus. When the outer shell becomes damaged, cracked, or torn, the inner nucleus can spill out and aggravate nearby nerves. A herniated disc can compress the sciatic nerve, which will cause you pain in your lower back that extends into your buttocks and back of the legs.

Spondylolisthesis

Another condition that affects spinal discs is known as spondylolisthesis. This is a condition associated with degenerative disc disorder that affects vertebrae in the spine. Spondylolisthesis affects the vertebrae in your lower back and refers to when a vertebra slips forward onto the vertebrae directly below it. Spondylolisthesis can cause pain, tenderness, and stiffness in your lower back. You may also experience stiffness and pain in the back of your legs and in your buttock muscles. When one vertebra extends over another, it can compress or pinch nerve roots of the sciatic nerve.

Spinal Stenosis

The spine in your lower back, also known as the lumbar spine, can also be affected by spinal stenosis. This condition refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal. When the spinal canal in your lumbar spine starts to narrow, it can put excessive pressure on your spinal cord and nerve roots to the sciatic nerve. Soft tissues and bones typically protect nerves like the sciatic nerve in your spinal cord. However, gradual narrowing of the spinal column will end up compressing the spinal cord and nearby nerves, which can cause sciatica and other symptoms.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can also put you at higher risk for developing sciatica. Lower back pain and sciatica are common with pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. As the fetus grows, the added weight will put pressure on your joints and muscles. Pregnancy can cause spinal compression as the body prepares the pelvis for childbirth. Ligaments loosen and allow the uterus to grow and shift, which can end up pinching the sciatic nerve.

Spinal Tumor

A spinal tumor can also cause sciatica. Spinal tumors are masses or growths along the spine that can be benign or cancerous. When a tumor grows on the spine, the abnormal mass can affect the healthy functioning of the spinal cord. Spinal tumors in the lower back, known as lumbar or sacral spinal tumors, can compress the sciatic nerve and lead to sciatica. While spinal tumors are rare, they can be a serious condition that should be addressed as soon as possible.

How Sciatica Can Affect You

Sciatica can affect anyone, and you may experience symptoms of sciatica at least once in your life. Any irritation of the sciatic nerve can lead to pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. Shooting pain in one or both of your legs can make sitting, standing, and walking around painful. If you sit for long periods of time at your job or while traveling, you are at greater risk for experiencing sciatica. When the sciatic nerve is compressed, it can lead to symptoms that may keep you from enjoying your day. While some mild cases of sciatica may go away on their own, more moderate to severe cases of sciatica may require help from a doctor or chiropractor. People over the age of thirty are at greater risk for developing sciatica. If you have a job that requires you to do heavy lifting or twisting, this can put undue pressure and strain on your back. People who live a more sedentary lifestyle are also at greater risk for developing sciatica. Sciatica can be painful and even debilitating, depending on your symptoms.

Sciatica vs. Back Pain

While the sciatic nerve is located in your lower back, sciatica does not primarily occur in your lower back. If you are experiencing lower back pain without any symptoms in your buttocks or legs, then you may not have sciatica. Sciatica is a particular type of pain that is identified by how it affects your buttocks and the back of your legs. Lower back pain can occur for a number of reasons, including conditions or injuries that can cause sciatica. However, if you only experience lower back pain, then you may be dealing with a different type of issue. Small changes to your routine or lifestyle can lead to sciatica, from incorrectly lifting something heavy to carrying extra due to pregnancy.

How to Diagnose Sciatica

In order to diagnose sciatica, your doctor will want to review your full medical history along with your current symptoms. A medical history will help identify if you have any risk factors for sciatica and can help your doctor determine if a recent injury could be causing your sciatica. It also helps to talk to your doctor about what symptoms you have been experiencing. Sciatica pain may be mild, moderate, or severe and can occur all along the lower half of your body. Let your doctor know where you experience the pain and how often it occurs. Talk to your doctor about anything you have noticed that may make the pain better or worse.

Your doctor will also perform a physical exam that will test your reflexes and muscle strength. Because the sciatic nerve controls mobility and sensation in your buttocks and legs, these tests will help determine if you have weakness due to sciatica. Certain stretches or movements can help identify what is causing you pain. Nerve tests can also help test the functioning of your nerve impulses. Diagnostic imaging tests may also be used to diagnose sciatica and determine the root cause. An X-ray or CT scan of the spine will use a small amount of radiation to create images of the spine. Your doctor may also request an MRI, which uses radio waves and magnets to capture detailed images of your spine and the sciatic nerve.

How Chiropractic Can Help with Sciatica

Chiropractors offer a natural treatment approach for people dealing with sciatica. Chiropractic care is a natural approach that does not rely on medications or invasive procedures. Instead, a chiropractor takes a holistic approach to help manage and relieve your pain and discomfort. Sciatic chiropractic treatment involves gentle and safe techniques like chiropractic adjustments to the spine without the risk of harmful side effects. A sciatica pain chiropractor will identify any misalignments in the spine that may be contributing to your sciatica. Misalignments may include vertebrae or spinal discs that are out of alignment and compressing the sciatic nerve. Restoring these misalignments to their proper place takes the pressure off of the sciatic nerve and reduces your pain and discomfort. When the sciatic nerve is no longer compressed, this will also allow the nerve to regain control of accurate signals and ease muscle spasms and other uncomfortable symptoms.

A sciatic nerve chiropractor can also help relieve your sciatica symptoms with chiropractic massage therapy. Massaging the muscles and soft tissues that support your lower back can help induce deep muscle relaxation and release natural hormones like endorphins that actually help reduce pain. Swelling and sore, stiff muscles in your lower back can aggravate the sciatic nerve and cause you pain. Chiropractors use therapeutic massage techniques to target specific areas of the musculoskeletal system for optimal pain relief from sciatic nerve compression. When you see a chiropractor for sciatica, they will address the root cause of your pain along with reducing your symptoms.

Treatment for Sciatic Nerve Pain

From lifestyle changes to chiropractic care, there are many treatment options available for sciatica. You should not have to live with sciatica pain and discomfort. Here are five treatment options for sciatic nerve pain.

Pain Relief

There are many natural ways to experience lasting pain relief from sciatica. Some of these options include at-home remedies and lifestyle changes you can try on your own. Identifying what movements or activities aggravate your sciatica can help you avoid those motions as much as possible. Try to stay active and incorporate movement breaks into your daily routine if you have to sit for long periods of time at work or school. While over-the-counter medications can help relieve your pain, the results are temporary and do not address the root cause of your pain.

Improve Strength

Strengthening your muscles can help reduce the effects of sciatica. Strong back muscles will better support a healthy posture, so your spine stays in its neutral position. Strong glutes and leg muscles will provide better support for your buttocks and legs, which can help you participate in activities that may have otherwise aggravated the sciatic nerve. Improving your strength will help reduce sciatica and also help prevent pain from coming back.

Stretch Muscles

Stretching your muscles will help keep them loose and flexible. Stiff, sore muscles can cause pain and discomfort and even impact your posture. Going through gentle stretches each day can help restore healthy alignment and get blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body. Try taking a yoga class to learn more about how to safely and effectively stretch your muscles and improve muscle tone. A physical therapist can also walk you through how to stretch properly. Stretching your muscles as you heal from an injury or before and after participating in a sport can help reduce your risk of injury in the future.

Ice & Heat

Applying ice and heat to your lower back can also help reduce sciatica. Cold compresses or ice packs will help reduce any swelling that may be compressing the sciatic nerve. Using cold or ice also acts as a natural pain killer because of its numbing effect. You can also use a heating pad or hot packs to relax your muscles. Applying heat can help soothe aching or spasming muscles. Warming up your muscles also helps release tight muscles and can dull the pain of sciatica. Alternating cold and heat therapies can also be helpful, especially if you are recovering from a recent injury.

Exercise

Certain movements can make your sciatica pain worse, while other activities may help relieve your pain. A chiropractor or physical therapist can walk you through exercises that will help reduce the aggravation of the sciatic nerve. Exercises can help address tight muscles that may also be aggravating the sciatic nerve. There are some exercises that you can do at home that will help reduce sciatica and provide you with lasting relief. Exercises for sciatica will help release pressure on the sciatic nerve so you can regain mobility.

Preventing Sciatica with a Chiropractor

A chiropractor for sciatic nerve pain will help you reduce pain symptoms and also prevent future flare-ups from occurring. Chiropractors take a holistic approach to your treatment for sciatica. Treatment options like strengthening your back muscles can help address a wide range of concerns, from supporting a healthier posture to providing better stability to keep a disc in place. Chiropractors focus on how to ease your pain in the short term while also addressing long-term goals for treatment and prevention. Finding out what triggers your sciatica will help you prevent flare-ups in the future.

Visit AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta if you are looking for a “sciatica chiropractor near me.” Our team of chiropractors works alongside orthopedic doctors, neurologists, and physical therapists so you can get quality, comprehensive care. Our chiropractic clinic offers in-house diagnostic imaging tools so you can get an appropriate diagnosis and get started on a treatment plan all in one convenient location. Call or schedule an appointment with a sciatica chiropractor today to find out how we can help you experience lasting pain relief!