Sciatica is the term used for sciatic nerve pain that goes down the back of a leg. It can be from a disc bulge, pinched nerve, or tight muscles in the back of the hip. Integrating non-invasive manual therapies such as spinal decompression, myofascial release, stretching, and physical therapy can help sciatica heal faster and more completely.
Sciatica is the term used to describe pain that travels along the sciatic nerve path. Although sciatica is often used as a diagnosis, there are several causes, including herniated discs, pinched nerves, and piriformis syndrome. Depending on the cause of sciatica, there are multiple options for treatment. Sciatica treatment options often include decompression therapy, neurodynamic techniques, stretching, myofascial release, spinal manipulation, and rehabilitation.
The essential component of successful treatment is first to identify the cause. For example, a disc bulge will be treated differently than piriformis syndrome. Next, discovering triggers or activities that aggravate the pain must be eliminated. An example of this could be changing sleeping positions or bending movements.
The first step in diagnosing sciatica requires a comprehensive evaluation, including orthopedic exams, neurodynamic tests, mechanical diagnosis therapy, and discovering what provides the most relief.
If no improvement is made after six weeks of conservative therapy with a chiropractor or physical therapist, an MRI may be recommended. MRI is used to look for disc bulges in the low back. X-ray is usually not helpful in diagnosing sciatica. Also, neither MRI nor X-ray is useful in diagnosing piriformis syndrome.
Sciatica healing time will vary depending on the cause and severity. Other factors to consider are a person’s age, overall health, and if the appropriate therapies are being done.
In some instances, sciatic pain can feel better within a couple of weeks. On the other end of the spectrum, sciatica pain can sometimes take nine months before it begins to feel better.
Most commonly, six weeks of conservative therapy (such as with a chiropractor) are recommended. When a combination of treatments are applied appropriately, there is a greater chance for a more speedy recovery.
The best treatment for sciatica will depend on the cause and severity. After a thorough exam, a care trial should consist of combining several therapies. Some of the more common treatments are spinal decompression, neurodynamics, mechanical diagnosis therapy, spinal manipulation, myofascial release, stretching, and rehabilitation.
Spinal decompression creates more space around the nerves as they exit the spine. Ideally, the traction should be intermittent (coming in and out) rather than only holding the traction for an extended period. Intermittent traction allows time to create space and promotes movement back and forth, which acts as a pump to help with inflammation and swelling around the nerve.
Neurodynamic techniques increase circulation and mobility in the sciatic nerve itself. For example, it’s common for people with sciatica to have difficulty putting on socks and shoes. Nerve flossing and nerve mobilizations are neurodynamic techniques that improve the nerve’s ability to be stretched while experiencing less pain.
Mechanical Diagnosis Therapy is a technique that helps discover which direction would be best for stretching the spine. Depending on the size and type of disc bulge, some people do better with stretching one direction over the other. Finding the correct direction is also vital to discover if there is a stretch or position that should be avoided. For example,some disc bulges should avoid stretching forward, while others should avoid stretching backward.
Chiropractors frequently use spinal manipulation to reduce joint restrictions and muscle tension. These chiropractic adjustments are also a great option to create more mobility in the area, which can help with pain and improve the overall healing response.
Myofascial release is like a massage and promotes blood flow, induces relaxation reflexes, and relieves pain.
Stretching the surrounding muscles, such as the piriformis, hamstrings, and hip flexors, are a great way to improve overall mobility. In the case of piriformis syndrome, stretching the hips may be especially valuable.
Functional physical therapy helps strengthen muscles in or around the area of injury. Strengthening is beneficial in the later stages to develop more resilience and prevent future occurrences.
Centralization is a medical term used to describe when pain moves away from the extremity and toward the spine. For example, sciatica pain often starts in the lower back. However, as it progresses, sciatica can become more painful in the leg than the spine. As sciatica improves, the pain becomes less prominent in the leg and hip and returns to only being in the lower back. Also, activities such as being able to bend over or putting on socks and shoes are indicators that sciatica is improving.
Yes. Especially top tier chiropractors that combine the above therapies. Each therapy can be valuable; however, the critical component is applying them in the necessary situation. Before committing to a chiropractor, it is recommended that they utilize and have experience with the therapies mentioned above.
Yes. What’s considered healthy lifestyle choices, in general, are usually essential to promote healing. Examples include getting good sleep, managing stress, and maintaining a good diet.
Sleep is essential for recovery. If the body is not getting adequate and quality sleep, then the healing response will suffer. Everyone is different, but it is mainly recommended for 7-9 hours of sleep/night. Keep in mind that quality is essential too.
Nutrition can be critical in recovery from sciatica. Avoiding processed foods can keep inflammation down, which is crucial for faster healing response.
Managing stress and anxiety can be valuable. Stress Responses increase cortisol, and cortisol is a stress hormone that can slow the recovery process.
Sciatica can be managed and will recover with the therapies that have already been described in most cases (80-90%). Some severe cases can require surgery; however, this is usually only pursued as a last resort.
Other forms of therapy may include NSAIDs, oral steroids, and steroid injections. These options should be explored by visiting your primary care physician, orthopedist, or a pain management specialist.
Sciatic pain travels down the back of the leg because that is the location of the sciatic nerve. Once the nerve gets irritated, inflammation will begin to travel downward. Sometimes it stops near the knee; other times, it can travel towards the foot.
Whether it’s a disc bulge or piriformis syndrome, the nerve is more likely to be pinched on only one side. If you’re noticing long-standing pain going down both legs, a condition called stenosis should be considered.
O’Guin Wellness chiropractors specialize in diagnosing and managing sciatica. Their combination of leading therapies relieves pain and enhances healing of the most common causes of sciatica, including disc bulges.
Whether you're a new patient looking for answers and solutions to a complicated condition, or just need a chiropractic adjustment, our office can help. Our chiropractors can help no matter if you are recovering from an injury or are experiencing chronic back pain or neck pain, so call O'Guin Wellness today!
We specialize in leading, non-invasive therapies that restore alignment, enhance movement, and promote healing.
Disc bulges (or herniations) occur when the fluid from the inside of a disc leaks out and presses against a nerve. The best non-invasive disc herniation treatment options include spinal decompression, stretching, myofascial release, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments.
Our chiropractors provide comprehensive treatment for a range of hip and hip joint pain. Common causes of hip pain are tendinitis, tendinosis, bursitis, arthritis, and femoroacetabular impingement. Additionally, some types of lower back pain, such as sciatica, will refer pain to the hip.
Common causes of shoulder pain are rotator cuff, labral tears, muscle imbalances, or pinched nerves from the neck. We will get you the correct diagnosis and appropriate therapies.
Neck pain can be caused by strained muscles, inflamed discs, pinched nerves, or irritated joints. It is often complicated by incorrect posture, lack of stability, or muscle imbalances. Comprehensive chiropractic care includes the use of spinal manipulation, myofascial release, acupuncture, and physical therapy corrective exercises.
Getting relief from low back pain first requires a consultation or exam to determine what’s going on. Treatments for a lumbar strain, disc bulge, sciatica, and arthritis may each be managed differently. Integrating the appropriate therapy for the condition is critical. Some common treatments that help with back pain relief include myofascial release (massage), chiropractic adjustments, stretching, acupuncture, physical therapy, and spinal decompression. When integrated correctly, these therapies provide excellent results for managing low back pain.
Pain caused by a pinched nerve can rapidly progress without appropriate treatment. Chiropractors of O’Guin Wellness specialize in identifying pinched nerves using neurodynamic techniques and orthopedic tests. The best treatment option is to combine therapeutic modalities such as spinal decompression, myofascial release, stretching, and physical therapy.
Many common types of headaches are associated with muscle tension and or joint restrictions. Common headaches treated are tension headaches, cervicogenic headaches, and migraines.
Begin Your Healing Experience TodayFree Consultation
Start your journey towards a healthier, pain-free life. Experience the difference our expert chiropractors can make.Free Assessment