Day in and day out, sciatica can take a toll on both your physical and mental health. Finding relief might seem impossible, but there is hope to be had!
Many people with sciatic nerve pain are turning to chiropractors for help and getting positive results. There’s even better news for those living in Oakville and surrounding areas. Dr. Huggins is an experienced Chiropractor in Oakville who can help with your sciatica.
Just how do chiropractors provide relief for sciatic pain? Let’s find out.
What is sciatica?
Every 1 in 10 North American adults suffer from a condition called sciatica. This is a condition causes shooting pain to emanate from the lower back and extend outward. It happens right where the sciatic nerve is located and where it extends down through the hips, buttocks, and upper legs. It most strongly impacts adults between the ages of 25 and 45, but it can affect those who are younger or older.
In most cases, only one side of the body is affected by sciatic pain, but there are cases in which people feel pain on both sides. Sciatic pain can certainly feel severe, but a lot of patients do not require any kind of surgical intervention in order to experience relief. Medication is often suggested by doctors, and surgery is often a last resort for those whose pain is infringing upon their ability to produce a bowel movement or urinate.
Sciatic pain is typically caused by some sort of spinal condition, such as spinal stenosis or a bone spur. A herniated disc can cause it too. This can cause symptoms like:
- leg stiffness
Pain levels can range from mild to severe. Certain postures might make it feel worse, such as while you are sitting or bending forward. Even a strong cough can cause sciatic nerve pain to flare up.
What is a chiropractor?
You most likely have a general idea of what chiropractors do and know that an Oakville chiropractor can help ease spinal pain. But what all do they do?
Chiropractors focus on treating neuromuscular disorders by manipulating the spine. From the cervical (or neck) spine down to the coccyx, chiropractors pay attention to what is going on in your spine and where there are problems. They believe that these conditions impact the body’s nervous system but that manual adjustments can reverse these symptoms.
Chiropractors first perform a full examination of new patients which includes: a consultation with the doctor, medical/family history and physical exam of the entire spine. The chiropractor will likely then request the patient receives xrays (if necessary) in order to do a full examination, followed by a report of findings (review of the xrays with the patient) which allows patients to physically see what can contribute to their pain like sciatic nerve pain. After the chiropractor reviews the xrays they will then provide the patient with chiropractic treatment which often includes an adjustment.
How Chiropractors Provide Relief
Chiropractors emphasize providing relief from pain by the most holistic, natural means possible. There are a number of different treatment options that are used by Oakville Chiropractors and Chiropractors in general. Chiropractors have different styles of adjusting. For example some use their hands to manually adjust and others use an activator, a tool that allows low-force impulse at the pain points. A Chiropractor will not prescribe medications but might suggest a natural supplement, as many offices do carry vitamins and supplements.
Instead of medications, chiropractors utilize the following methods for treating sciatic nerve pain in their patients:
Manual and Activator Adjustments
Chiropractors use their hands or an activator to manipulate the areas of the spine that are experiencing problems. With sciatic pain, the area of focus is predominantly the lumbar (or lower) spine. Of course, people with sciatic pain can have problems elsewhere in the spine that require adjustments too. With the help of an x-ray, a chiropractor can determine exactly where all of your problem areas are located and why they’re so problematic.
Manipulations are non-invasive procedures that require you to lay on a special table as your chiropractor adjusts your spine. They apply pressure with their hands and or the activator to the areas that need it. You might feel and hear some of the manipulations (which people often refer to as cracks), which is totally normal. Adjustments are not painful and do not require the use of any sort of medication. They typically last from 5 to 20 minutes, so appointments can be quite quick.
Inflammation also gets targeted during these adjustments. Since inflammation is linked so strongly with sciatic nerve pain, manual adjustments can provide relief by decreasing inflammation of the sciatic nerve (and other areas in the spine, of course).
Ever heard of a TENS unit and wondered what that meant? TENS stands for ‘transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation’, which is a fancy way of saying that a little battery-powered unit can stimulate the muscles via electrical currents. Different intensities can be selected, and electrodes get placed over the lumbar area of the spine where sciatic pain has its roots.
Individuals can get their own TENS units to use at home, and chiropractors often have these portable versions in their offices. Some do have larger, higher-powered versions, but the portable versions are known to be effective for treating sciatic nerve pain.
Some chiropractors utilize cold therapy or alternating heat and cold. This is used to reduce inflammation, and you can even do this treatment at home between appointments. However, chiropractors often use special freezing sprays, applying them to the skin over the affected area of the spine. The cold might surprise you a little at first but is not painful.
You probably didn’t expect to see ‘ultrasound’ as a treatment option, but it is one that chiropractors might use. Why? Well, at a particular frequency, sound waves can generate a small amount of heat. This heat gets sent into the deep tissues, creating circulation in your lower spine and legs. This can help reduce inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
Your friendly Oakville chiropractor can fill you in on more details, so don’t hesitate to get in contact. Sciatic pain can interfere with your quality of life, but the pain does not have to be permanent. Non-invasive techniques can help reduce and possibly even eliminate your sciatic nerve pain. Call us at 905-845-2291 to schedule an appointment with one of our chiropractors and get treated today!
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