What is Sciatica?

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Dr. Anthony DeWald, D.C.

Thousands of people all over the world will experience some form of low back pain in their lifetime.  Many of those people will experience sciatica.  Sciatica is defined as impingement of the sciatic nerve in the low back, pelvis or buttocks.  It typically affects only one side of your body.  It can be caused by disc herniation, bone spurs, or stenotic changes impinging exiting nerve roots. The sciatic nerve is comprised of the spinal nerves L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3 and runs from the lumbosacral region down the back of the leg to the knee where it splits into the tibial nerve and the common peroneal nerve.

Signs and Symptoms

Sciatica symptoms can vary depending on where the nerve irritation is occurring.  Typically the symptoms include:

  • Unilateral low back pain
  • Intense pain in the buttocks
  • Pain radiating down the back of the leg
  • Numbness in the buttocks and/or leg
  • Altered sensation in the leg
  • Muscular weakness that may be affecting gait 

Management and Treatment

Conservative treatment options should always be utilized first and then progress to more invasive treatment options, if needed.  Chiropractic care and physiotherapy are recommended as the first line treatment options for sciatica. Many cases respond quite favorable to conservative care.  Treatment may include: extension exercises, hot/cold therapy, spinal manipulation of the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joints, manual therapy and piriformis stretches.

If you experience any of these symptoms give us a call and let us help you get out of pain and back to doing what you love.

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