Sciatica is associated with pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in the hip, buttock, leg, calf, and foot. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest of all the body’s nerves. It runs from the spinal column near the pelvis down each leg and can be as wide as your thumb. Each sciatic nerve is made up of five smaller nerves that branch into the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, and foot. Sciatica occurs when this nerve is compressed, irritated, or inflamed.
Sciatica is most commonly a result of a misaligned lower spine that is pinching the root of the sciatic nerve. This subluxation can apply a good deal of pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause severe pain. Pain can either be dull and aching or can be a shooting pain down the leg all the way to the toes. This pain can last for several days or weeks or it can subside for even a few hours. However, someone who has had sciatica for a long period of time will find that the pain localises in the buttock and thigh. In severe cases it can damage nerves and reflexes or cause the calf muscle to deteriorate.
A faulty pelvic alignment could put the gluteal muscles under duress and the sciatic nerve will be pinched as it passes through the buttocks. A slipped or herniated disc is another cause of sciatica and is usually a result of trauma from a fall or accident. Often traumatic events are not the cause of sciatica. Standing, sitting, walking, running, heavy lifting, bending, twisting, or even sneezing can bring on symptoms.
The first thing your chiropractor will do is review your complete medical history to determine when the problem began and the possible causes. Then a complete physical and chiropractic exam is performed, and x-rays may be taken. Your chiropractor will review and discuss the results with you and make recommendations for sciatica treatment.
Treatment of Sciatica
The Chiropractic treatment aims to reduce nerve pressure caused by poorly moving spinal joints as well as easing muscular tension in the lower spine, buttock and leg. This is achieved by using a combination of the following techniques:
- Spinal adjustments
- Spinal mobilisations
- Ice/Cold therapy
- Massage therapy
- Trigger point therapy
- Stretching tight muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments
- Advice in relation to how to minimise pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerve
- Home stretching exercises
Many times people with sciatica wait until the pain becomes unbearable before they contact the Chiropractor. Waiting can cause long-term damage. It is important that you contact your Chiropractor when the pain originally begins.
Stretch of the Month
The wide-arm chest stretch will help loosen up your shoulder as well as your chest muscles.
- Stand up with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- From here, lift your arms up until they are at the height of your shoulders with your palms facing forward.
- From this position, push your arms backwards until you feel a tight stretch in your chest and back.
- Hold this position for five seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Do three sets of 10 before taking a break.
Here are a few tips that will help you to increase your performance and decrease fatigue at work:
Remember that breakfast is the first meal of the day and it needs to be a good one, breakfast also reduces work related fatigue and weight gain.
Caffeine, too much of coffee really doesn’t make you fresh and instead leaves you tired in the long run. Try limiting your coffee to two cups/day.
Poor Posture, next time you catch yourself slouching, correct your posture & keep your spine upright and use a chair with a cushion for your back. While standing, remember to balance your weight on both feet and keep the knees bent slightly.
Working for long hours can be tiring. So, you need to utilize your breaks to the maximum. Try some gentle stretching. You can also put your feet up and relax your calves and feet.
Remember, you need to enjoy everything you do if you want to lead a good life. Try these little tips and watch work become fun!