Low back pain the most common complaint in North America, and is the most common reason someone will seek chiropractic care in Saskatoon. Research suggests that 80% of the population will experience low back pain at least once in their lifetime. Of those that experience low back pain, nearly 50% may also begin to experience sciatica-like symptoms.
Sciatica can be extremely frustrating! When you are experiencing sciatica, it makes all aspects of life difficult; work, being active, playing with your kids, and other aspects of your daily life. After injuring my back, I understand this struggle! You are concerned and filled with questions about your future.
What is sciatica? Will it be around forever? Can it be treated? Do I need surgery? Will I get better?
After reading this you will understand what sciatica is, the most common cause of sciatica symptoms, and how chiropractic care can relieve your pain so you can return to living the life you love!
What is Sciatica?
Your nervous system is a big electrical circuit. Your spinal cord sends all of the electrical nerve signals between your brain and the rest of your body. Individual nerves emerge from your spine, then travel to supply sensation and movement to specific areas of your lower body. This allows you to move and feel sensations like touch, heat, cold, and pain. Anything that interferes with this transmission can cause problems.
Your sciatic nerve exits your spine from your lower back, travels through your pelvis, hip, buttocks, and down each leg. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve. Pain in the back of your leg and your buttock is a sign that you are putting pressure on your sciatic nerve.
What Causes Sciatica?
The most common cause of sciatic nerve compression is a bulging or herniated disc in your low back, however, this nerve can be compressed anywhere along its path (ie. when you are sitting on your toilet looking at memes for too long and your legs get tingly, that is compression of your sciatic nerve in your thigh).
Your low back consists of five vertebrae with flexible cushions called intervertebral discs separating each set of vertebrae. A disc is made up of two components. The inner disc, called the nucleus pulposis, is like a ball of jelly about the size of a marble. The nucleus pulposis is surrounded by the outer part of the disc called the annulus fibrosis.
Injuries to intervertebral discs begin when the innermost fibers of the annulus fibrosis get damaged, this can happen if you sit for long periods, lift heavy weights with improper form, or with sudden unguarded movements.
As the inner fibers begin to get damaged, the nucleus pulposis begins to push outward, traveling through the gaps of injured fibers. If more fibers of the annulus continue to get damaged, and the nucleus can travel further backward, which may result in the outer part of the intervertebral disc bulging or protruding outward.
The spinal cord and nerve roots live directly behind the disc. Disc bulges that are accompanied by inflammation will likely create lower back pain that radiates into the buttock or the entire lower extremity due to the irritation of nerve roots exiting the spine. If the disc continues to get damaged, it may begin to protrude far enough back that it puts mechanical compression on the nerve roots exiting the spinal cord. When this occurs you may begin to notice numbness or tingling sensations down your leg.
Does Chiropractic Care Help With Sciatica?
Recent research completed in April 2020 shows that 97% of injured discs, resulting in sciatica, can be managed conservatively through chiropractic care! The 3% of patients that were unsuccessfully treated had a history of opioid use, smoking, and health concerns that are known to inhibit our body’s ability to heal.
Through continuing education in The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Treatment, as well as Neurodynamics, the Chiropractors at E3 Chiropractic + Wellness are very well trained to treat anyone in Saskatoon experiencing low back pain and sciatica. These techniques are focused on decreasing the irritation of the nerves exiting your spine, and assisting in the healing of the damaged intervertebral discs.
Once the sciatic pain you are experiencing decreases, care will then focus on increasing the strength of your low back, core, and hips. These exercises will help in decreasing the risk of you experiencing low back pain again in the future.
If you or anyone you know in Saskatoon is experiencing low back pain and sciatica, book an appointment with E3 Chiropractic + Wellness today! We will make sure you get better, and stay better so that you get achieve your goals, perform at your best, and enjoy life!