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Chronic/Pain Conditions  >>  Sciatica

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses sciatica and what it means to you regarding care for this condition.

When you are ready to get to the source of your sciatica, Dr. Huntoon has 27 years helping people with this challenging condition.

We look forward to meeting you.

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Address Sciatica Click Here

Sciatica

Neuropathy - sciatic nerve; Sciatic nerve dysfunction Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica may be a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on its own.

Symptoms

Sciatica pain can vary widely. It may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or a burning sensation. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move. The pain most often occurs on one side. Some people have sharp pain in one part of the leg or hip and numbness in other parts. The pain or numbness may also be felt on the back of the calf or on the sole of the foot. The affected leg may feel weak. The pain often starts slowly.

Sciatica pain may get worse:

  • After standing or sitting
  • At night
  • When sneezing, coughing, or laughing
  • When bending backwards or walking more than a few yards, especially if caused by spinal stenosis

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This may show:

  • Weakness when asked to hold the leg up off a table 15 degrees while laying flat. (This indicates an Anterior Hip Subluxation usually due to a hormonal imbalance related to reproduction. Your Holistic Chiropractor can check you for this quite easily.)
  • Weakness of knee bending or foot movement
  • Difficulty bending the foot inward or down, or standing on one’s toes
  • Abnormal or weak reflexes
  • Loss of sensation or numbness
  • Pain when lifting the leg straight up off the examining table



Tests determine the suspected causes. They are often not needed unless pain is severe or long lasting. They may include:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs or other imaging tests

 

Causes

Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. 

This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, the whole lower leg below the knee, and the sole of the foot. Common causes of sciatica include:

  • Slipped or herniated disc(s)
  • Piriformis syndrome (a pain disorder involving the narrow muscle in the buttocks) secondary to an anterior hip subluxation
  • Pelvic injury or fracture
  • Tumors

 The most common cause has to do with an anterior hip subluxation, secondary to a hormonal imbalance.  Once the hip is subluxated, the piriformis muscle will go into spasm, thus compressing the sciatic nerve and causing sciatica symptoms.  And stretching the piriformis muscle only exaccerbates the whole condition.  Knowing how to check for this and address the anterior hip subluxation is important.  This is the simple part of the solution.

The more complex portion of the solution has to do with addressing the hormonal imbalance and helping the person with the sciatica know what to do to fully remedy the problem. 

OF NOTE: stretching the piriformis muscle is the worst thing a person could do if they have this condition. 

Traditional Medical Treatment Options and Diagnosis

Because sciatica may be a symptom of another medical condition, the underlying cause should be identified and treated. In some cases, no treatment is required and recovery occurs on its own. This may take weeks or months to fully resolve. Conservative treatment is what your medical doctor recommends in many cases. Your doctor may recommend the following steps to calm your symptoms and reduce inflammation. Apply heat or ice to the painful area. Try ice for the first 48 - 72 hours, and then use heat after that. Never use heat if the area has swelling, as the heat will increase the swelling and lead to more pain. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Bed rest is not recommended. Reduce your activity for the first couple of days. Then, slowly start your usual activities after that. Avoid heavy lifting or twisting of your back for the first 6 weeks after the pain begins. You should start exercising again after 2-3 weeks. This should include exercises to strengthen your abdomen and improve flexibility of your spine. You and your doctor will know if this is possible for you based on what your symptoms are and if there is improvement.

If at-home measures do not help, your medical doctor may recommend injections to reduce inflammation around the nerve. Other medicines may be prescribed to help reduce the stabbing pains associated with sciatica. Physical therapy exercises may also be recommended. Additional treatments depend on the condition that is causing the sciatica. Nerve pain is very difficult to treat. If you have ongoing problems with pain, you may want to see a neurologist or a pain specialist to ensure that you have access to the widest range of treatment options.

Dr. Huntoon's Alternative Medical Treatment Options

Addressing the underlying cause is always prudent. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor is the best method for relieving sciatic pain, as most cases are due to pinching and pressure on the sciatic nerve, secondary to an anterior hip subluxation. With spinal manipulation by a trained chiropractor, sciatica is a condition that can be handled quite easily. With simple muscle tests, your Holistic Chiropractor can determine the cause of your sciatica and the best course of treatment for your condition. Always be sure to treat the cause of the sciatica and not just the symptom.

Dr. Huntoon has both the expertise to locate the anterior hip subluxation and the ability to address the anterior hip as well as address the hormonal imbalance that underlies the reason for having the sciatica.  This is the best way to solve this condition once and for all.

Acupuncture and massage therapy have also been helpful when dealing with the symptoms of sciatica.

What to discuss with your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Unexplained fever with back pain
  • Back pain after a severe blow or fall
  • Redness or swelling on the back or spine
  • Pain traveling down your legs below the knee
  • Weakness or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg, or pelvis
  • Burning with urination or blood in your urine
  • Pain that is worse when you lie down, or awakens you at night
  • Severe pain and you cannot get comfortable
  • Loss of control of urine or stool (incontinence)
  • Have been losing weight unintentionally
  • Use steroids or intravenous drugs
  • Have had back pain before but this episode is different and feels worse
  • This episode of back pain has lasted longer than 2 weeks
Prevention and Quick Tips

Sometimes, sciatica can get better on its own. However, it is common for it to return. That is why it is best to see a Holistic Chiropractor for this condition. If your sciatica stays with you for more than 3 days, alternative treatment with a Holistic Chiropractor is warranted. 

Addressing the underlying cause is always prudent.

Working with a Holistic Chiropractor is the best method for addressing sciatic pain. As most cases are due to pinching and pressure on the nerve, conservative treatment to relieve the pressure on the nerve or spinal cord is appropriate. Chiropractors are the only profession that is able to do this. With simple muscle tests, your Holistic Chiropractor can determine the cause of your sciatica and the best course of treatment for your condition.

Prevention

Prevention varies depending on the cause of the nerve damage. Avoid prolonged sitting or lying with pressure on the buttocks. Receiving regular Chiropractic care to keep pressure off your spinal nerves, thus preventing nerve damage is the best form of prevention. Your Holistic Chiropractor can help you determine the course of prevention best for you and keep you from having sciatica at all.

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