Sciatica is an umbrella term for pain that is shooting or radiating down your leg. Most commonly, it refers to pain spreading from your low back down your buttock and the back of your leg. However, pain radiating down the side or front of the leg is often termed sciatica, too. Most of the time, sciatica resolves with conservative treatment. In severe cases, especially if you can’t control your bladder or have severe weakness in the affected leg, the condition may require surgery.
Pain can be mild or severe, achy or sharp. Some patients describe it as an electrical jolt. You may also have numbness in your leg or foot. Depending on what is causing your sciatica, coughing, sitting or laying in certain positions can make your symptoms worse.
What causes it?
Many things can cause sciatica. Often, it is due to a bulging or degenerative disc, spinal stenosis or other conditions that can “pinch” the nerve near where it leaves the spine. Even if part of the problem is happening at your spine, the sciatic nerve or it’s branches might be getting irritated elsewhere, too. The combination of these irritations can produce much more pronounced symptoms than either one would by itself. This is called a double crush syndrome.
Many times, there is a muscular component to sciatica. Trigger points in the muscles that stabilize your low back and hip can radiate pain and other sensations down your leg in a pattern that looks like a pinched nerve in your low back. Often, the two conditions happen together. However, muscles can form trigger points in patients with healthy spines.
The Good News
The good new is that most patients with sciatica respond well to the treatments we offer. When you come in for your appointment, we will take a history, and do a physical exam and help rule out more serious problems. We’ll examine your posture to see what muscles might be tight or weak, and what isn’t moving properly. We’ll also check for trigger points that could be referring pain down your leg.
The advanced Orthopedic Acupuncture & Dry Needling styles that we use are ideally suited to reset dysfunctional muscles, reduce neurogenic inflammation and help restore normal function. We’ll create an individualized treatment plan for you to help reduce your pain level, improve your quality of life and help you get back to doing the things you love.