Sciatica is pain that occurs when the sciatic nerve that runs down the lower back, buttocks, and leg becomes compressed. This pain can develop from several different causes, including injuries and spinal conditions. Sciatica usually improves with nonsurgical treatment methods, although it can take a few weeks or more for it to completely subside.
Sciatica symptoms typically include pain that develops along the sciatic nerve, which can range from the lower back down to the calf on the affected side. Some individuals experience mild soreness, while others have sudden and severe pain that comes and goes. This pain can grow worse when moving certain ways or after sitting for a long period of time. Other symptoms include tingling or numbness in the affected side, pain in certain areas rather than down the entire length of the sciatic nerve, and muscle weakness.
Herniated discs, bone spurs, and other spinal problems can lead to compression in the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica. Nerve damage and tumors in the affected area can also lead to sciatic nerve compression, although this happens less often. Factors that can increase the risk of having sciatica include a sedentary lifestyle, diabetes, jobs that involve frequent or heavy lifting, and obesity.
Sciatica treatment typically involves self-care, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, cold packs, and stretches. If this type of treatment is not effective, other options include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, and surgery. Physical therapy helps improve range-of-motion and make the muscles in the affected area stronger, which reduces the risk of having sciatica come back.
Spinal manipulation involves bringing the spine into proper alignment, which helps ease symptoms of sciatica. Restoring alignment in the spine also helps lower the risk of having sciatica flare up again. This is a safe and effective chiropractic treatment that can help those with sciatica find relief.
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