Sciatica is a form of nerve pain that may be felt anywhere along the course of one of the sciatic nerves, the two largest nerves in the body and the main nerve in each leg. In most cases, the pain, usually in the legs, disappears gradually within one to two weeks, but it may recur. Most people have at least one episode of sciatica during their lifetime.
How does Sciatica develop?
In some cases, the cause of sciatica is unknown. However, the most common cause for people between the ages of 20 and 40 is a prolapsed or herniated disc in the spinal column that presses on a spinal nerve root. A prolapsed disk may often occur because of straining to lift a heavy object. In older people, sciatica may be caused by body changes in the spine because of various conditions, such as osteoarthritis. Pregnant women may develop sciatica during the last few months of pregnancy due to postural changes that cause increased pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Muscle spasm and sitting in an awkward position for long periods are relatively common causes of brief episodes of sciatica in all age groups. Pain occurs when the nerve is damaged or compressed, usually where it leaves the spinal cord. Often, only one leg is affected. In rare cases, sciatica is the result of a tumor on the spinal cord. Sciatica may also be due to ligament laxity in the sacroiliac joint, which can cause radiating pain down the side of the leg, as well as numbness, a symptom that has traditionally been attributed only to nerve injury.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
The symptoms of sciatica vary widely, from a mild tingling sensation to pain severe enough to cause immobility. Some people experience sharp pain in one part of the leg or hip and numbness elsewhere. The pain may increase after prolonged standing or sitting, or be aggravated by sneezing, coughing or laughing. Symptoms may develop either gradually or suddenly, and may also include a sharp, needlelike sensation running from the buttocks down the side of the leg; pain that extends down the back of the leg to the knee; tingling or numbness in the foot; muscle weakness; and tenderness to palpation over the sciatic nerve. Muscle weakness may make it difficult to lift the foot on the affected side. Some people, especially the elderly, may have difficulty walking.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of sciatica, but they do not address the root of the problem. By strengthening structural weaknesses in the body, as natural treatments like Chiropractic and nutritional supplements do, pain associated with sciatica may be alleviated permanently.
Natural vs. Modern Medicine’s Approach to Sciatica
Modern Medicine’s Approach to Sciatica
The traditional treatment for sciatica is, unfortunately, for a patient to have lumbar spine surgery for a “sciatica” complaint diagnosed from an “abnormality” on an MRI scan. The sciatica complaint was a simple ligament problem in the sacroiliac joint. For the majority of people who experience pain radiating down the leg, even in cases where numbness is present, the cause of the problem is not a pinched nerve but sacroiliac ligament weakness. The problem with this surgical approach is that it does nothing to repair the weakened ligament in the sacroiliac joint and, thus, does not alleviate the chronic pain that people with sciatica experience.
Another standard practice of modern medicine is to prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, or NSAIDs. However, in the long run, this treatment does more damage than good. Anti-inflammatory drugs have been shown to produce short-term pain benefit, but both result in long-term loss of function and even more chronic pain by actually inhibiting the healing process of soft tissues and accelerating cartilage degeneration. Plus, long-term use of these drugs can lead to other sources of chronic pain, allergies and leaky gut syndrome.
The Natural Approach to Sciatica
A better approach is to stimulate ligament repair with Chiropractic adjustments. Chiropractic eliminates pain in the local ligaments by directly stimulating the nervous system and unlocking restricted joints in the sacroiliac region. In fact, the referral pain patterns of the sciatic nerve and of the sacroiliac ligaments are similar. Both pain and numbness typically associated with sciatica can be successfully treated with Chiropractic. Chronic pain is most commonly due to cartilage deterioration, tendon weakness, or ligament weakness. The safest and most effective natural treatment for repairing tendon, ligament and cartilage damage is Chiropractic. In simple terms, Chiropractic stimulates the body to repair painful areas.
If you are interested in more information about natural treatments or to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Laboret at 972-671-5263.
Disclaimer: The preceding is to provide information about relief and the benefits that may be derived. It is not intended to claim a cure for any disease or condition. It should not take the place of your doctor’s advice or treatment.