By Bill Ferris, DC
The term sciatica has been used, often incorrectly, to explain the pain in a person’s leg, buttock and low back.
The condition is so ubiquitous that people may think they can self-treat it or just follow a friend’s advice to relieve the debilitating pain.
There are many false notions about sciatica pain and patients need to fully understand some basic science, root causes and the full range of treatment options.
Sciatica Is a Symptom, Not A Diagnosis
Sciatica is actually a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis for what is causing the pain. In more severe cases, the causes of low back pain and leg pain need to be properly addressed in order to relieve the discomfort.
Sciatica means that the patient’s sciatic nerve is being compressed. The million-dollar question is what exactly is causing the nerve compression, or is it more than one cause — known as multi-etiological?
The most common problems that cause sciatica pain are: lumbar disc herniation, lumbar degenerative disc disease, isthmic spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar subluxation and piriformis entrapment. Sometimes it is a combination of two or more of these problems, which is referred to as “double crush” syndrome.
Chiropractors are particularly well-positioned to successfully treat sciatica pain because it is a mechanical problem that needs a mechanical solution. Drugs, such as painkillers (i.e. chemical solutions), often only mask the pain, leaving the patient still searching for answers.
Many patients recover from sciatica within weeks if the proper treatments are administered. Treatment options include chiropractic, non-surgical spinal decompression, specific soft tissue modalities and non-surgical deep tissue laser. In severe cases, surgery is a last resort.
Bill Ferris is a doctor of chiropractic with specialization in functional medicine. He is the president and founder of Modern Chiropractic & Pain Relief and New York Weight Loss in Victor. Call 585-398-1201 or visit www.modernchiropractic.com