Did you know that you can hurt your back without moving an inch? In fact, not moving an inch might be exactly where you went wrong. Not all pain is caused by tweaking, twisting, and torquing — although those can certainly do the trick. Sometimes it happens because you sit all day in the same position. Sciatica is one of those conditions that can strike for many reasons, including a herniated disc, pregnancy, childbirth, a tumor, constipation, a fat wallet in your back pocket, and yes, sitting too long.
Dr. Dana Robinson and our team here at Peninsula RSI Chiropractic Wellness Center in Redwood City, California, know a thing or two about sciatica pain. But Dr. Robinson’s approach is different than the traditional course of muscle relaxers and narcotics. She helps her patients get drug-free relief through chiropractic care. Here’s how it works.
A word about sciatica
Most people think sciatica is a medical condition, but it’s actually a symptom of spinal disorder. It describes the pain you feel if your sciatic nerve is pinched, and as we mentioned, many different things can be responsible for that. In addition to the potential problems that can affect the vertebrae in your spine, like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, or herniated or slipped discs — all of which are notorious for pressing on your sciatic nerve — your muscles may also be the culprits if they’re too tense.
Once the sciatic nerve is compressed, the pain can travel all the way down one leg or the other and manifest itself as tingling, numbness, dull aches, and sharp pains. That’s sciatica.
How is sciatica treated?
The recommended treatment for sciatica depends entirely on which health care professional you consult. Often, the go-to way to handle the pain is to prescribe medication or inject nerve blocks. And those may help at first, but not for long.
The best way to treat sciatica pain is to diagnose the condition that’s causing it — find out what’s pressing on that nerve — and remove the pressure by treating the cause.
Enter chiropractic care
When you think of chiropractic medicine, you may have images of back torquing and neck cracking, but it’s so much more than that. Chiropractic care also includes a comprehensive lineup of modalities like massage therapy, hot and cold therapies, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, acupuncture, and yes, spinal adjustments. The good news is that any of these treatments, or a combination of them, may be just the thing you need to decompress your pinched sciatic nerve without medication.
Case in point: Your nerve may be compressed by a tight piriformis muscle, the one that’s located in your lower back and helps you rotate at the hip. If you’re having a muscle cramp or spasm, tend to sit with a wallet in your back pocket, or have one leg that’s longer than the other, your piriformis muscle tenses up, the fibers form a knot or trigger point, and you end up with sciatica. But manual therapy and deep tissue massage can stretch out the muscles so that they relax naturally and release the trigger point so it stops pressing on your nerve. And voila — no more pain, and no drugs necessary.
Hot and cold therapies, ultrasound, and TENS are all complementary treatments that work together to relieve pressure and pain on your sciatic nerve. But if the cause is spinal rather than muscular, a different type of chiropractic care is what you need.
Dr. Robinson gently applies manual pressure to your hips and spine, carefully repositioning your vertebrae and restoring the space your sciatic nerve needs to move freely and painlessly. She comes alongside you each step of the way, which generally means about four visits. After that, she guides you through a rehabilitation process that strengthens your muscles and spinal column so you can avoid another bout of sciatica in the future.
There’s no need to live with the debilitating pain of sciatica, and no need to take drugs to mask it temporarily. Call us at 650-599-9868 or request an appointment online today to see if chiropractic care can get rid of your sciatica pain.