Second Opinion Magazine
Sciatica—A Real Pain in the Butt!
By Dr. Emily Smith, Smith & Prissel Chiropractic
We are all too acutely aware of the ever rising cost of health care and the societal impact of the over-prescribed addictive medications that have been used to treat chronic pain. Low Back Pain (LBP) is one of the most costly musculoskeletal issues affecting our population. Though it may seem like everyone knows someone who has had spinal surgery, in reality, surgical frequency is extremely low. Most people opt for and have success using alternative treatments such as chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture and massage. These modalities offer a treatment for the cause of the LBP, which can vary greatly.
It is estimated that 80% of people will have LBP at some point in their lifetime  and as many as 40% of these individuals will experience the “joy” of sciatica . The sciatic nerves are the longest and largest nerves in the human body, boasting a thickness the size of your thumb. They each run from the lower back, down the back of each leg to the toes. The sciatic nerves exit the pelvis on either side, through a pelvic notch in the middle of the buttocks and underneath the often tight piriformis muscle.
The term ‘sciatica’ refers to radiating pain in one or both legs due to stretching, swelling or compression of the sciatic nerve or the multi-level nerves from the low back and sacrum that feed into it. This pain can also present itself in the form of numbness, tingling and/or weakness. The area of the leg where symptoms appear can help to further determine which area of the lower back is involved. The intensity and longevity of the symptoms may determine the appropriate next steps, though chiropractic care has become the go-to for anyone experiencing LBP and/or pain in the leg.
Treatment typically consists of aligning the spine with a gentle and specific chiropractic adjustment, releasing interference to the spinal nerves, allowing the body the ability to heal from within. LBP often involves pain or spasm in the muscles of the lower back. Though this can be incredibly frustrating, it’s important to realize that these muscles are simply doing their job. By spasming, they are limiting movement and protecting the body from causing further damage and also providing soft-tissue stability when the bony spinal structure may lack stability.
Chiropractice care can lessen LBP and sciatic symptoms by getting to the root of the cause!