Types of Back Pain – Sciatica

12 Jun 13

(First in a series)

SciaticaSciatica is one of the most common forms of back pain. It is characterized by pain that originates in the low back or buttock that travels into one or both legs via the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve pain varies in intensity and frequency, ranging from minimal to severe and from occasional to constant.

The biggest misconception by most people is that sciatica is a condition.—however, sciatica is really a symptom of an underlying condition.

Sciatica is generally caused by sciatic nerve compression. Conditions known to cause sciatic nerve pain include lumbar spine subluxations (misaligned vertebra), herniated or bulging discs (slipped discs), pregnancy and childbirth can exacerbate such conditions.  Even, tumors and non-spinal disorders such as diabetes, constipation, or sitting on one’s wallet in their back pocket can cause sciatica.

Since there are many disorders that cause sciatica, the chiropractor’s first step is to determine what is causing the patient’s sciatica. Forming a diagnosis includes a thorough review of the patient’s medical history.

The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica. A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments. Including –

  • Ice/Cold therapy to reduce inflammation and help to control sciatic pain.
  • Ultrasound is gentle heat created by sound waves that penetrates deep into tissues, this increases circulation and helps to reduce muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness, and pain.
  • TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) is a small box-like, battery-powered, portable muscle stimulating machine. Variable intensities of electrical current control acute pain and reduce muscle spasms.
  • Disc Decompression Therapy is a type of motorized traction that gently stretches the spine and takes the pressure off your spinal disks. The goal of this therapy is to take pressure off the surrounding nerves, which in turn helps movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient–rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.
  • Adjustments (Spinal Manipulation) The core of chiropractic care are spinal adjustments. Manipulation frees restricted movement of the spine and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spinal column. Spinal adjustment helps to reduce nerve irritability responsible for causing inflammation, muscle spasm, pain, and other symptoms related to sciatica.

Medical treatments that may be appropriate for your condition include Steroid injections or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like advil or aleve.  Prescription medication that can be used are, muscle relaxants in order to reduce muscle spasms as well as anti-depressants.  Anti-depressants are utilized because they may help block pain messages to the brain and can help increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are a natural pain killer.

Every case of sciatica is different and will require a customized plan of treatment.  If you suffer from sciatica or any other form of low back pain, schedule a consultation with Innovative Health and Wellness right away so that we can begin working towards your total health.


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