The sciatic nerve is located in the lower back, and when it’s compressed or pinched, it can produce pain in the legs, back, and hips — a condition known as sciatica. Although it’s often a byproduct of disorders like degenerative disc disease or herniated discs, sciatica can also be triggered by overuse or injury. Below is an introduction to this common issue and how sciatica treatment can help.
The most prominent symptom of sciatica is shooting pain, typically experienced in one leg. The pain is usually constant and can often be felt up into the buttock and/or radiating down into the foot. The nature of the pain is not a dull or sore type of discomfort; it’s commonly described as searing or burning. Pain tends to be worse when sitting, though walking and standing can also be challenging and uncomfortable. The intensity of the pain and any associated weakness, tingling, or numbing depends on the location where the sciatic nerve is pinched.
In cases of degenerative disc disease and pregnancy-related back pain, sciatica cannot be prevented. However, in cases of injury, you can be proactive in minimizing risks that might pinch the nerve. When lifting heavy objects, lift with the legs, keep the back straight, and hold the object close to the chest. Exercise regularly to build strength, especially in the back and abdominal muscles, and avoid sitting for extended periods. Practice good posture when sitting and standing. These steps will help reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. Additionally, smoking can exacerbate degenerative disc issues, so if you smoke, look for methods to quit.
In addition to taking preventative measures, many sciatica treatments can provide relief. Applying an icepack to the afflicted area during the onset of pain can reduce discomfort significantly; put an icepack on for 20 minutes at a time and repeat as necessary every two hours. For longer-term pain, heat is often helpful. Over-the-counter NSAID drugs are also effective at managing pain for many patients.
If you’re struggling to find relief, chiropractic care is another effective sciatica treatment. Dr. Jack Harrison, D.C., of North Pole Chiropractic can provide spinal adjustments and manipulations to take pressure off the compressed sciatic nerve, helping reduce pain and inflammation. Since 2001, he has been providing chiropractic health care to patients throughout the North Pole, AK, region. In addition to sciatica treatment, he offers massage therapy and treatments for neck and back pain. To schedule an initial consultation, call (907) 488-1885 or visit their website today.