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Effective Treatments for Sciatic Nerve Pain

Effective Treatments for Sciatic Nerve Pain - El Paso Chiropractor


Sciatica is commonly described as leg pain caused by a pinched nerve in the lower back region. Although the issue usually begins in nerve roots located on either side of the lower spine, the symptoms can travel through the sciatic nerve, which runs the length of each leg from the buttock down into the foot.
blog picture of nurse grabbing lower back with sciatica
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What is Sciatica?


“The leg pain, referred to as radiculopathy, is often worse than the back pain,” stated William A. Abdu, MD, medical director of the Spine Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The most common cause for sciatica symptoms is a herniated disc. When a disc develops a tear or crack and bulges into the spinal canal, it can pinch the sciatic nerve. Generally, the symptoms can resolve within approximately 6 weeks, but for some individuals, the pain and discomfort may continue, developing into chronic symptoms. Fortunately, there are a variety of alternative treatment options available to help people suffering with these painful, sciatica symptoms.

Chiropractic


A study conducted by the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 2010 found that 60 percent of individuals diagnosed with sciatica who didn’t get relief from other therapies but then tried spinal adjustments had experienced the same degree of pain relief as individuals who had surgery. The 120 people involved in the study visited a chiropractor about 3 times a week for 4 weeks and followed with weekly visits, gradually decreasing their treatment as they felt better. For individuals who responded well to chiropractic treatment, their benefits lasted up to a year. “Spinal manipulation creates a response in the nervous system that relieves pain and restores normal mobility to the injured area,” stated study researcher Gordon McMorland, Dc, of National Spine Care in Calgary, Alberta. “It also reduces inflammation, creating an environment that promotes the body’s natural healing mechanics.”

Chiropractic and Sciatica



Yoga


Yoga is also an effective solution for many individuals suffering from sciatica symptoms. A study published in the journal Pain announced that individuals diagnosed with chronic back pain who practiced yoga for approximately 16 weeks reported decreased pain levels by up to 64% with reduced disability of up to 77%. Although further studies are still required to further determine the effects of yoga on sciatica, gentle forms of this activity can be beneficial. Participating in yoga can greatly help people experiencing sciatica because it strengthens the muscles and improves their flexibility, assisting them to move and function better in order for them to not fall into a posture that can further aggravate their sciatica symptoms.

Exercise


When it comes to individuals suffering from sciatic nerve pain, exercise is the last thing on their mind but it’s essential for these people to continue being physically active. As a matter of fact, lying in bed makes it more likely that the pain will last longer. Exercise and physical activity increases blood flow to the discs and the nerves, helping decrease the amount of chemicals causing the inflammation. As simple as a 15-to-20-minute walk can help. If this becomes too painful for the individual, swimming and water aerobics can be a great alternative to remain physically active and avoid experiencing pain from your sciatica because while in the water, there’s less pressure being placed on the back. Additionally, a physical therapist can help recommend an appropriate set of stretching exercises according to each individual’s needs to restore flexibility to the back or advice on a group of moves to strengthen the core muscles, both of these to help stabilize the spine and reduce the risk of further injuries.

Acupuncture


Acupuncture has also been frequently used as another effective alternative treatment for sciatica sufferers. A small study conducted in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that of 30 individuals diagnosed with sciatica, 17 gained complete relief while 10 saw their symptoms improve through the utilization of warming acupuncture, the procedure in which the needles are heated.

Individuals experiencing this painful condition don’t have to endure their pain and discomfort. If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica symptoms, there are a variety of alternative treatments available to help you achieve the natural, healthy state of your spine according to each individual’s needs.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez

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