SCIATICA, Leg Pain & Chiropractic
Chiropractic care appears to have the most effect on sciatica when used first. Unfortunately, many people first submit to medical care. Even in this group excellent results may be obtained with subsequent chiropractic care. in one study 3,136 people with lumbo-sciatalgia (lower back and sciatica pain) with disc disease (protrusion) who had previously had medical treatments such as physiotherapy and drugs with no positive results were given chiropractic care. A follow-up two years later showed that 50.4% had excellent results with no painful relapses, 34.4% had relapses but then responded favorably after funher chiropractic care while 15.2% showed no significant improvement.
Those suffering from sciatica and leg pains would do well to visit a doctor of chiropractic. To millions of sciatica sufferers chiropractic’s unique approach to wellness has been a blessing. If the spine becomes misaligned or distorted it could damage (impinge) the nerves it is designed to protect. The impinged nerves can upset the delicate workings of the nervous system, weaken the body and set the stage for disease, pain and body malfunction.
Your sciatic nerve is your longest and largest nerve. It is made up of five roots that leave your low back, join in your pelvis and then travel to the muscles and joints of your thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes.
WHAT IS SCIATICA?
If your sciatic nerve becomes inflammed the condition is called sciatica (pronounced si’ad-a’ka). The pain can be intense! It often follows the path of your nerve~down the back of the legs and thighs, ankle, foot and toes but it can also radiate to your back! Along with burning, sharp pains, you may also feel nerve sensations such as pins and needles, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations or tenderness. Ironically, your leg may also feel numb!
To complicate matters, although sciatica pain is usually in the back of the legs or thighs, in some people it can be in the front or side of the legs or even in the hips. For some, the pain is in both legs: bilateral sciatica!
LIKE A KNIFE
The quality of the pain may vary. There may be constant throbbing but then it may let up for hours -or even days; it may ache or be knife-like. Sometimes postural changes, like lying down or changing positions, affect the pain and sometimes they don’t. In severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of reflexes or even a wasting of your calf muscles.
THE CHIROPRACTIC APPROACH
Throughout your life, you have your teeth, blood pressure and eyes checked – how about your spine?
Chiropractors correct the vertebral subluxation complex, which causes poor spinal alignment and nerve pressure. Doing this, chiropractors relieve stress on the spinal nerves, joints and discs. Just as you get your car’s alignment checked and corrected, so you should periodically get your spine’s alignment checked out and corrected. Is chiropractic spinal care a treatment for sciatica? No, it is a procedure for the analysis and correction of spinal nerve stress. And yet, if you do have sciatica, a chiropractic spinal adjustment is very badly needed. Every sciatica sufferer needs a healthy spine.
Neurogenic claudication is muscle pain brought on by walking due to diminished blood circulation. In addition to pain the sufferer may feel cramping, numbness, aching and/or fatigue usually in the calf but also in the foot, thigh, hip or buttocks after walking for long periods of time. After a little rest the symptoms disappear Spinal care should be tried first before medical and surgical techniques are resorted to. Newer studies show that exercise can help individuals with this condition.
Research shows that the relationship between chiropractic spinal adjustment and sciatica and leg pain is a close one. For example, one study of sixty patients showed that spinal care should be the care of choice for sciatica sufferers. And still other studies praised chiropractic spinal adjustments for sufferers of sciatica and leg pain. In one controlled study four different approaches (spinal care, traction, two types of injections) were used to deal with low back pain and sciatica sufferers. The group that had spinal care experienced the greatest degrees of recovery. Interestingly, a large number in the traction group eventually required surgery.
For sciatica sufferers, a good night’s sleep may be a thing of the past. Simple things like walking, bending, turning, sitting or standing up can be difflcult or impossible.
CAUSES OF SCIATICA
Like most other conditions, sciatica has a wide variety of causes but an unhealthy spine with a protruded or ruptured disc can irritate the sciatic nerve causing sciatica. Sciatica has been reported following accidents, injuries and even childbirth, usually due to spinal misalignment.’ However, advanced diabetes can also cause sciatic nerve irritation, as can arthritis,constipation, tumors and even vitamin deficiencies.
THE MEDICAL APPROACH
The medical approach to sciatica is symptom Sciaric treatment with nerve painkillers, muscle relaxers and orthopedic devices such as traction and physical therapy.
Sciatica is particularly frustrating to treat with drugs because, in many cases, even strong painkillers bring little or no relief. However, relief may be obtained by injecting painkillers directly into the nerve roots! As with all painkillers, there is always a risk