Sciatica is an umbrella term.
What is sciatica?
The term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain—and possibly tingling, numbness, or weakness—that originate in the lower back and travel through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of both legs or one leg. Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis but rather a symptom of a underlying condition.
What are sciatica symptoms?
Sciatica can be debilitating. Symptoms may include:
- Constant pain in only one side of the buttock or leg (rarely in both legs)
- Pain that is worse when sitting
- Leg pain that is often described as burning, tingling, or searing (versus a dull ache)
- Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg, foot, and/or toes
- A sharp pain that may make it difficult to stand up or walk
- Pain that radiates down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes (it rarely occurs only in the foot)
What causes sciatica?
Focusing on the cause of sciatica and not just the symptom will help alleviate the problem effectively. Causes may include:
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spondylolisthesis (slipping of the vertebra)
- Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of spinal canal)
- Piriformis syndrome
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Other medical conditions that may cause sciatica include:
- Spinal tumor
Chiropractic management for sciatica
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve originating from the lumbar region. There are many nerves in the sciatic and depending on the level the nerves come out of the lumbar joint will depend where the treatment will be administered. Gentle mobilisation to chiropractic adjustments are effective for sciatica. Muscle releasing technique with rehabilitation is effective. Other treatment modalities may be utilised for management.
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