Are you experiencing pain along one side of your body from your lower back down through your hip and the back of your leg? If so, you could be suffering from a condition called sciatica.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sciatica can best be described as "most commonly occurring when a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg."
A variety of issues weigh in on an individual's likelihood of ending up with sciatica. Most of them deal with increased pressure on the spine.
Obesity: carrying too much weight is instrumental in bringing on a number of health related issues. Extra pounds overload the spine, causing damage that results in sciatica.
Improper lifting: Individuals who frequently twist the bodies and lift heavy loads are more likely to suffer from sciatica. Certain jobs that require these movements are a key cause of the condition.
Sedentary lifestyle. A person's job does not have to involve lifting to be responsible for this condition. Sitting for extended periods without stretching or standing puts excess pressure on the spine and can cause sciatica.
Too many birthdays. Getting older can affect all of our body's joints and bones in a negative manner, especially if we never committed to an exercise routing. An individual's back often deteriorates with age, causing bone spurs and herniated disks that sometimes result in sciatica.
Treatment options for sciatica are varied, and the choice depends on the severity of the condition.
Pain medication: A common and easy way to treat sciatica is with drug therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs are frequently used to reduce the inflammation around the nerve, which is a big contributor of the pain. Over-the-counter pain medicines, as well as codeine, may also help with pain management.</p>
Acupuncture. Alternative therapies like acupuncture have shown positive results in the treatment of sciatica. If a drug-free treatment option appeals to you, find an experienced acupuncturist in your area and talk to them about treatment options.
Strengthening exercises. A consistent exercise program strengthens your muscles and helps the body function effectively. Ask your doctor which exercises assist the body with bouncing back from sciatica.
Supplements. Supplying the body with vital vitamins and minerals assists in overall health in general, including improvement from sciatica. Daily doses of supplements such as calcium, magnesium, St. John's Wort, and Vitamin B12 have shown to treat sciatica effectively.
Chiropractic care. Chiropractors understand all things spine-related, and work with the body as a whole to help it heal itself. Chiropractic treatment for sciatica works to align the spine and reduce the stress to the lower back. Treatment helps alleviate the underlying causes of the condition, and shows positive results in a short amount of time.
Cortisone injections. Most of the time, sciatica can be treated by the less invasive measures mentioned above. However, severe bouts of sciatica may require a shot of cortisone directly into the inflamed area. Individuals generally choose this option when other treatments have garnered no relief.
Dealing with sciatica is painful and irritating, as the condition often sidelines the sufferer from daily activities. By knowing the treatment options that are effective in combating both the underlying causes and the pain of sciatica, sufferers can begin a regimen that will help them get back on their feet, pain-free in the shortest period of time possible.
If you are suffering from sciatica and would like to talk to an experienced chiropractor about how to treat the condition, contact us today.
Dr. Andy Johnson