As if lower back pain wasn’t enough, the sense of burning, numbness, or tingling down one or both legs is enough to make a person crazy. You will do anything to make it go away, as long as the relief is permanent, right? Fortunately, there are treatment options for sciatica you may not be considering.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in your body. It starts in the spinal cord near your lumbar spine (lower back) and travels down both hips, both legs, and stops in your toes. Along the way, it sends nerve signals to your legs and feet, making it possible to walk, run, sit, stand, jump, and bend without pain. Because the nerve is so large and so complex, irritation at any point can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation along the rest of the nerve. This is especially true when that irritation happens in the spine.
Your lumbar vertebrae are the largest bones in your spine. Cushioned by thick, bouncy discs, these bones take on a large amount of force as you move throughout the day. Over time and with injury, the intervertebral discs deteriorate, sometimes rupturing and leaking the gelatinous fluid inside. As this happens, the sciatic nerve becomes pinched near the spinal cord and can no longer effectively send and receive messages to its far-reaching branches. What results is radiating pain, numbness, tingling, or burning down one or both legs, known as sciatica.
How are Sciatica or Pinched Nerves Treated?
When you are in pain, the temptation is to get rid of the pain as quickly as possible, by whatever means necessary. This typically means taking either over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. While such drugs work to temporarily relieve the discomfort of sciatica or other pinched nerves, they do not address the way the nerve functions, or the pinched nerve at the source. Fortunately, there are other treatment options that restore function as well as relieve symptoms.
Chiropractic works by realigning the bones in the spine and reducing the pressure on the pinched nerve. Chiropractic care also has a cumulative effect. Over time and with continued adjustments, the body begins to accommodate the spine’s new position and hold it in place.
Once the bones are in their proper place, it is important to create space for the intervertebral discs to return to their proper place and begin the healing process. A patient lies on a computerized table that stretches the spine using gentle, precise pressure. The intervertebral discs slide back into place, relieving the pain and discomfort associated with a pinched nerve.
For centuries, acupuncture has been used to relieve pain and discomfort throughout the body. By placing small, thin needles along the branches of the sciatic nerve, patients experience lasting relief without side effects. The same process can be used for pinched nerves throughout the body, not just in the legs and hips.
You may already know that massage is great for general relaxation, anxiety reduction, and relieving the negative effects of stress, but did you know that massage can also improve circulation and speed up the healing process? Additionally, massage is a fantastic, drug-free pain reliever for sciatica and pinched nerves. By working on the muscles affected by sciatica or pinched nerves, patients are able to improve their function while experiencing temporary relief.
Call today or schedule your consultation online and find out which treatment combination is right for you.