Did you know that the sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body? It runs from your pelvis, through your hip area and buttocks and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves as it travels down the legs providing feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet as well as controlling many of the muscles in your lower legs. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.

What causes Sciatica?

sciatic nerveSciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc. Piriformis Syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.

How do I know if I have sciatica?

Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It’s likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.

How is Sciatica Treated?

The vast majority of the time, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle, and chiropractic care. Occasionally, in cases where there is persistent inflammation of the nerve due to a bulging or herniated lumbar disc, lumbar decompression therapy is recommended also.

Common medical treatments for sciatica include pills, physical therapy, injections, and in severe cases, surgery.  However, pain medications, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatory medications only serve to mask the symptoms of sciatic nerve pain, tight muscles, and inflammation. The medications do not address the REASON for these symptoms, often leading to multiple flare-ups and a lifetime of dealing with pain and restricted activities.

It is important to take sciatica seriously and seek professional chiropractic care. If the inflammation and decreased nerve function is not addressed in a timely manner, permanent nerve damage can occur. That could result in permanent numbness, weakness, or pain in the areas the nerve goes to. At West Chester Chiropractic Center, we will review your history and symptoms, review any prior x-rays or MRIs, determine if any additional imaging is necessary, coordinate with your other physicians, perform a thorough examination, and determine the cause of your symptoms. We will then discuss all of your treatment options both invasive and non-invasive and work with you on creating an individualized treatment plan.

The vast majority of the time, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle, and chiropractic care. Occasionally, in cases where there is persistent inflammation of the nerve due to a bulging or herniated lumbar disc, lumbar decompression therapy or lumbar traction is recommended also. Lumbar decompression/traction creates a negative pressure in the damaged disc, which can retract the bulged or herniated disc and also causes an influx of water and healing nutrients into the disc. The primary treatment offered by chiropractors is called an adjustment. An adjustment restores normal motion and position of your bones and joints. And chiropractic care is safe for the entire family!

Sciatica Treatment in West Chester

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Do not put off treatment any longer. Living in pain is not normal. Get back to the life you want to live. Contact our chiropractors . . . we can help! We offer successful Sciatica Treatment in West Chester at our office.