The Sciatic nerve is a group of 5 nerves in the lumbar and sacral spine—L4, L5, S1, S2, and S3. Sciatica refers to the back pain going down the leg caused by a Sciatic nerve problem. It is characterized by a very sudden shooting pain that radiates down the leg and into the foot. The seriousness of the problem can be determined depending on how far down the symptoms occur; this can give a general idea on the level of severity. The further down it goes, the less severe the problem is in the lumbar spine. If you develop a disc bulge, disc herniation, or pressure on the Sciatic nerve roots, your leg may feel painful, numb, weak or tingly at times.Disc herniation—an injury where the inner portion of the disc ‘slips’ through the outer ring—is the most common cause of Sciatica, which occurs most often during heavy lifting. Basically, when the Sciatic nerve is irritated, pressured, inflamed, or compressed, it may cause Sciatica. Some reasons include trauma to the body, repetitive forward bending motions (this puts pressure on the front of a disc causing Posterior Disc Bulge), and sheer forces stressing the annular rings that surround the disc material.
A person can be taken through a basic range of motions designed to stimulate the lumbar spine to see if it reproduces Sciatic symptoms down the leg. Compression tests may also be performed in addition to this. Sometimes, people can have an ‘asymptomatic disc’ issue, which
means that herniated or bulging discs may show up on medical imaging tests but have no symptoms and are not causing any pain. Getting an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), can give a clearer picture as to how severe a disc issue is.
Chiropractic care is a type of alternative medicine that focuses mainly on the spine. Most the time, chiropractic care such as adjustments, soft tissue release work, mechanical traction to release pressure on the disc or nerve root, or laser therapy can help mitigate the pain and
lessen the recurrence of symptoms down the leg. If there are no substantial results within 4-8 visits, it is best to refer to or seek for a second opinion, or get an MRI. Conservative intervention is suggested as a first line of defense. After symptoms are resolved there is a number of physical exercises you can do to strengthen the core and its associated muscles such as the hips. Ensuring good mobility in the hips can help prevent sciatic symptoms from worsening or returning.