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Sciatica Pain Treatment in Aurora

woman sitting at a desk with lower back painThe sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, running from the lower back to the bottom of the leg. Sciatica is a condition that is specific to the compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain is often a sharp, burning sensation though sometimes it can be dull and achy. It is most often associated with shooting pains down the legs and can be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.

Sciatica is very common due to the prevalence of lower back pain. In our society, we sit a lot, sometimes for six to twelve hours a day and our body was not designed for this amount of constant stress. Chronic sitting compresses the discs in the lower back and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Chronic sitting, past injuries or traumas, and manual labor are all risk factors for sciatica, leading to degeneration and more severe problems in the future if not addressed.

It’s critical to get acute lower back pain or acute neurological nerve compression taken care of before the issue becomes chronic, making it much more difficult to treat. We want to treat sciatica quickly so as not to exacerbate the symptoms. Chiropractic can help to restore a healthy spinal structure to those who are dealing with a decreased lower back curve that may be compressing the nerve causing pain and dysfunction.

Chiropractic care is shown to be one of the top treatments for sciatica pain because it addresses the underlying issue of sciatica by correcting pelvic misalignments, subluxations, or rotations to the spine that can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

How We Treat Sciatica Pain

Comprehensive Consultation and Exam

At Buchar Family Chiropractic we start by conducting a comprehensive consultation and exam focused on your lower back. We want to understand how this condition has been affecting you and if this is an acute or chronic situation. Is it getting worse? Is it getting more frequent? Is it lasting longer? When we conduct our chiropractic, functional, and orthopedic exams, we want to understand how these findings are affecting your functional capacity to do activities in your daily life. Finally, a neurological exam will help us assess the health of the lower back and nerves. We’ll look for decreased neurological function, weakness, numbness, and tingling that may indicate nerve damage.

The goal of all of this is to get to the root cause of sciatica to determine if this is a simple issue or something that has been building insidiously over time.

Specific Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care for sciatica is focused on locating and correcting subluxation. Subluxation is when there’s a rotation in the spine that puts pressure on the nerves causing damage, pain, and dysfunction. If subluxation is the underlying cause we will work quickly to correct those misalignments, relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve. This will allow the spine to function properly and keep the problem from getting worse in the future.

Customized Therapeutic Exercise Plan

We will create an exercise plan unique to you and your specific situation. The focus will be on any muscle weaknesses and imbalances that may be causing or attributing to your sciatica. These exercises will support the adjustments we do in the office and work to stabilize the spine. We’ll begin this plan together in the office, but the goal is for you to perform these on your own to support your care. Making lifestyle changes related to exercise, stretching, and ergonomics is critical to getting the best results.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal Decompression is a very successful treatment for sciatica pain. Decompression is especially helpful if sciatic pain is caused by a disc bulge or herniation. Decompressing the disc will take pressure off of the sciatic nerve and relieve the pain and dysfunction. The earlier this treatment can be introduced into your care plan the better. We also use decompression in conjunction with adjustments and exercise for the best results.

Common Causes of Sciatica Pain

Herniated Discs

A disc is the soft tissue in between the bones of the vertebrae. These discs help to cushion the spine and create a window where the nerve can exit the spinal cord and service the body. Over time, discs can be damaged forming a bulge which can lead to a herniation. As the disc wears down and dehydrates the fibrous exterior begins to tear causing a bulge. When these fibers tear the gelatinous nucleus herniates, breaking through the exterior of the disc and putting pressure on the nerve causing more intense pain down the leg. Surgery may be necessary if the condition does not improve, that’s why it’s critical to be proactive and seek help at the first sign of a problem.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition where the discs begin to break down over time. While primarily an age-related condition, obesity, smoking, and work that is hard on the spine can contribute, causing earlier onset. When the disc shrinks, the foramen, which is the window where the nerve exits the spine, gets smaller increasing the risk of sciatic issues. Unfortunately, degeneration cannot be reversed, but we can slow the progression and keep it from getting worse.

The narrowing of the spaces within the spine putting pressure on the nerves traveling through it is called spinal stenosis. This squeezing of the spinal column can make standing and walking difficult. Many people find that sitting down, resting, and bending over can relieve the pressure. Spinal stenosis can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and even loss of function of major organs. It’s critical to get this issue taken care of as quickly as possible.

When a nerve becomes damaged or compressed the body will react by tightening the muscles around the area to protect it from further damage. Unfortunately, this action causes reduced range of motion and can itself lead to pain ranging from dull and achy to severe and sharp. A sudden movement can cause a spasm, but repetitive bad habits like poor posture or weak core muscles can also trigger a strain or spasm. These injuries can usually resolve themselves if the muscle can be released, but addressing it early will ensure the issue doesn’t get worse.

Where the sacrum meets the pelvis is the sacroiliac joint. SI joint dysfunction is a common cause of sciatica pain. This joint absorbs the shock between the upper body and the pelvis. Because of the amount of pressure it absorbs daily chronic issues can arise. In fact, 15-30% of low back pain cases are related to the SI joint. Leg length discrepancy, pregnancy, and repeated stress to the lumbar spine can magnify this issue creating hypomobility, not enough mobility, or hypermobility, too much mobility.

Spondylolisthesis is when one vertebra slips in front of the other and compresses the foramen, the window where the nerve exits the spine. When one vertebra slips in front of the other it compresses the hole where the nerve exits. This results in intense discomfort and pain. Trauma, genetics, intense physical activity, sports injuries, or a fall can all be responsible for spondylolisthesis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I see a doctor or chiropractor about sciatica?

Chiropractors should be your first line of expertise. Chiropractic care is shown to be the most time-efficient, cost-effective way to stay healthy with very high patient satisfaction.

What is the best treatment for sciatica?

The best treatment for sciatica is chiropractic care followed by stretching, exercises, and preventative wellness care into the future.

What is better for sciatica, acupuncture, or a chiropractor?

We use both in tandem, always starting with a foundation of chiropractic care and working in acupuncture over time as needed. There are certain cases we may start with acupuncture, based on the patient’s preference.

What causes a sciatica flare-up?

Flare-ups are usually the result of never addressing the root cause of the pain or continuing with bad habits. Just chasing symptoms leads to patch-up care. Unless the underlying structural issue is addressed, pain and dysfunction will continue to return.

What exercises help with sciatica?

We focus on specialized supportive chiropractic exercises along with core exercises in our office. A strong core helps to stabilize and protect the spine. The best core exercises are squats, planks, Bosu ball work, and tech five plate work.

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Are you ready to begin your healing? Contact Buchar Family Chiropractic now to schedule your consultation!
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Sciatica Pain Treatment Aurora, Naperville IL | Buchar Family Chiropractic