Sciatica generally refers to pain felt in the low back area, hips and down the back of the leg. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed by damage or injury to the spine structure. The source of back pain is more structural, which leads to inflammation, pain and sometimes numbness & tingling in the affected leg.
Sciatica is an irritation of nerves and may be caused by the following:
- Vertebral disc injury (herniation, protrusion, extrusion, degeneration)
- Bone Spurs (bony growth on the spine)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine canals)
- Pregnancy (additional weight bearing)
- Degenerative Disc Disorder
- Nerve root injuries
- Spondylolisthesis (small stress fracture & vertebrae slipping forward)
Piriformis Syndrome is a more specific condition in which the sciatic nerve which runs underneath the piriformis muscle is irritated and compressed. Individuals with tight piriformis muscles may have symptoms similar to Sciatica, however the management for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome differ.
Symptoms for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome include:
- Lower back, hip or buttock pain
- Numbness in some parts of leg, hips, foot or toes
Although the pain associated with sciatica and piriformis syndrome can be severe, most cases resolve with nonoperative physical rehabilitation treatments. Physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment relieve pain and inflammation with the assistance of modalities as well as stretching, strengthening, adjustment & mobilization techniques to relieve nerve irritation.
In rare cases, individuals with severe sciatica that is associated with significant leg weakness, bowel or bladder changes need to seek immediate medical attention!
Sciatica is usually diagnosed by physical examination and history of symptoms.
Studies show that spinal manipulation is an effective treatment for acute sciatica and is a safe method for treating sciatica related pain. Other treatment protocols such as Makenzie extension, low back and core stability and strengthening exercises are used to treat the causes of Sciatica and sciatica-related pain.
Contact Altima Wellness Centre to see how we can help you to get rid of low back pain!