Living with any kind of pain can reduce your quality of life, especially pain that can be so severe it leads to loss of mobility. According to Harvard Health, sciatica is a common condition that affects up to 40% of the adult population. In addition, a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that in 2015 alone, back pain was the second leading cause of disease burden, accounting for 4.1% of Australia’s total disease burden.
If left untreated, sciatica pain can be debilitating, which is why addressing it from the get-go is so important.
Have you experienced sciatica pain before? Did you have trouble finding a temporary relief and permanent solution for the pain?
Read on to find out more about sciatica and how chiropractic treatment could help you regain full mobility in your body.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a type of neuropathic pain that affects the sciatic nerve which causes pain in the buttock and leg. The sciatic nerve is large, formed from nerve roots originating in the lower spine. Typically, it affects only one side of the body and happens due to pressure on the nerve. The two most common types of sciatica are acute and chronic.
What triggers Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs because of an injury to the sciatic nerve or an area that affects the nerve – a vertebrae, one of the 33 interlocking bones that form the spinal column. This results in sciatic nerve compression which causes pain, numbness and more. There are different causes of sciatica, including slipped discs, arthritis, muscle tightness, pregnancy, sitting too much or bad posture.
How do I know if I'm having Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Sciatica pain feels like a burning sensation or shooting pain. Common symptoms that can help you identify if you’re having sciatic nerve pain include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain radiating down one leg from your buttocks to your foot
- Your legs or feet feel weak or numb.
- Numbness in your leg or foot
- A burning sensation in your leg/foot
- Shooting pain when standing or sitting
- Loss of mobility
- Inability to put weight on the leg
These symptoms are usually associated with how sciatica starts and can help you differentiate them from plantar fasciitis pain for example.
Another test that helps you figure out if you have sciatica is a straight leg raise (SLR). This is usually conducted by an experienced chiropractor that can assess whether you have sciatica and find out the underlying problem that caused it.
Where is the Pressure point for Sciatica?
Sciatica relief pressure points can mostly be found in the buttocks and legs, in the piriformis and gluteal muscles. Acupressure can help treat sciatica by applying firm pressure on these pain points. This is best done by a professional, so consider contacting your local chiropractor or registered massage therapist that can give your informed advice.
How long do Sciatica Flare Ups Last?
On average, acute sciatica pain lasts for about 4-6 weeks. Certain people may develop chronic sciatica pain that can last for more than two months, and in some cases can persist over years. Sciatica becomes chronic if the pain doesn’t go away after 6 weeks, and usually does not let up with self-management.
Does Sciatica go away on it's own?
Sciatica pain can go away on its own. However, the recovery time is longer and it doesn’t mean that you have fully eliminated the sciatic nerve pain. Something to keep in mind is that sciatica is not a diagnosis, it’s a symptom of an underlying condition. So if you don’t resolve the condition that caused it in the first place, there’s a high chance that it can be recurring and evolve into a chronic pain problem.
How can I relieve Sciatica Pain?
If you’re looking for ways to relieve sciatica pain at home, one of the most common methods is the application of heat and ice packs. Similarly, taking a hot bath has the same effect. Heat can help the muscles relax and ease the sciatica pain you may be experiencing. Adding Epsom salt baths can also aid with reducing inflammation and help you sleep well when you have sciatica. If you want to fully take advantage of the relaxation and relief Epsom salts can offer, you can also try floatation therapy. Using a float tank is also extremely beneficial for sciatica pain caused by pregnancy.
What is the fastest way to cure Sciatica?
The best and fastest treatment for sciatica is physical therapy. Chiropractic and massage treatments not only provide relief through acupressure and improvement in strength and flexibility, but also the right diagnosis to the underlying condition.
How do you Heal Sciatica?
Sciatica is curable. Like with any pain in your body, timely treatment is important so that it doesn’t become worse. Given that some of the causes for sciatica are slipped discs or bad posture, deciding which doctor to see is important. A chiropractor is trained in unpinching the sciatic nerve and can also give you safe sciatica exercises that can improve recovery. Overall, manual therapies are the best treatment for sciatica.
What can make Sciatica Worse?
There are a few things you should avoid so you don’t make sciatica worse. Inactivity is one of them. Some people think that bed rest is good for sciatica, but that’s actually not true. What’s good for sciatic nerve pain is walking. Sitting too much, sleeping in the wrong position or wearing ill-fitting footwear can also make sciatica worse.
What happens if Sciatica is left untreated?
If left untreated, sciatica can cause permanent nerve damage. That will aggravate back and leg pain and can even lead to the pain extending to other parts of the body. Chronic sciatica is serious and can require surgery as the last resort.
Can Chiropractors help with Sciatica?
Chiropractic care is one of the best treatments for sciatica. Chiropractors specialise in the adjustment of the spine and misaligned joins, which is a skill that can help correct sciatica caused by slipped discs and misaligned vertebrae. A chiropractor will also help you manage your pain with an effective treatment plan that will shorten the recovery time.
What should I look for in a Chiropractor for Sciatica?
A good chiropractor for sciatica should have experience, knowledge and alternative tools at their disposal. At Paramount Health, our Chiropractors are also certified in Sports recovery, and have at their disposal Infrared Saunas and Floatation Tanks that can help with healing from sciatica pain. Plus, our chiropractors will give you a personalised exercise routine that will help you relieve pain and heal sciatica quicker.
If you experience pain and believe it could be sciatica, the best thing to do for your health is to find out what causes the pain – and get well as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the pain to get worse, book online now.