The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It runs from the pelvis through the hip area and buttocks and then courses down the back of each leg.
The term sciatica refers to the inflammation of this nerve and the pain that radiates along its course. Sciatica may feel like a leg cramp or as numbness, burning or a pins-and-needles sensation. Sciatic pain can also be excruciatingly piercing or stabbing. In one study of patients with chronic pain, sciatica sufferers endured “significantly higher” pain scores and limitation in daily living activities than any other group.
Cause 1 – Root of the Problem: Although sciatic pain is generally in the legs, Dr. Wayne wants patients to understand that the root cause is often compression of the sciatic nerve root, which is the beginning of the sciatic nerve as it exits the spinal cord in the low back.
Cause 2 – Nerve Root Compression: Nerve root compression is frequently the result of one of two conditions: vertebral subluxation (misalignment of spinal bones) or sacroiliac subluxation (misalignment of pelvic bones). When the spinal or pelvic bones are even slightly out of place, spinal movement is restricted, which in turn irritates the muscles, discs and the nerve root – causing pain.
The other two main causes of sciatic nerve compression are herniated spinal discs and piriformis syndrome (inflammation of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks).
Cause 3 – Herniated Discs: Spinal discs, which are sandwiched between vertebrae, can put pressure on the sciatic nerve root. The intervertebral (between vertebrae) discs give the spine its flexibility and act as shock absorbers between each of the 24 spinal bones. The outer layer of each disc is tough and fibrous, while the inside material is spongy.
If discs degenerate or are subject to trauma, the soft centre may bulge to one side. This condition is known as a herniated disc.
Sciatica ensues as the nerve root becomes trapped against the spinal canal by the disc bulge.
Cause 4 – Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscles extend along both sides of the lower buttocks. Sciatic nerves travel beneath the piriformis muscle on their way from the spine to the back of each leg. This occurs when the muscle becomes inflamed, forcing pressure on the sciatic nerve and trapping it against the bones of the pelvis.
Often more than one of these four causes occur simultaneously, so it is vital to identify and address all factors. The good news is that research shows that both chiropractic therapy and low intensity laser therapy, like that provided by Dr. Wayne, alleviates all four of the common causes of sciatic pain.
Combined Care Approach for Best Results In the treatment of sciatica, low intensity laser therapy is key in helping with the reduction of inflammation in the tissues surrounding the sciatic nerve, and reduction of inflammation of the piriformis muscle, resulting in a reduction of compression of the sciatic nerve and thereby alleviating pain. Laser therapy can also help to reduce disc herniation by strengthening the outer membrane of the spinal discs in order to help them maintain their proper shape and function.
Using cutting edge technology and working through specially designed laser frequency, the healing effects of the laser stimulate the damaged tissues to drive the inflammation out of the muscles and spine and restore normal blood flow, thus allowing the repair mediums to enter the cells and re-build healthy tissues, take away muscle spasm, reduce inflammation, and give much needed pain relief to the sufferer!
The laser therapy does not burn or cut or give any side effect. It is totally safe and the healing effect is cumulative. That means as you get better, you will need fewer treatments and should be ready for some strengthening exercises to get you back to pain free living sooner.
Often times, however, laser therapy alone may not completely resolve sciatic pain if part of the root cause is misaligment of the spinal or pelvic bones. Doctors of chiropractic correct these misalignments using safe and effective maneuvers called chiropractic adjustments to successfully realign the spinal and pelvic bones. Dr. Wayne is trained in Activator chiropractic technique, which uses a small hand held device to tep the vertebrae back into alignment and relieve the pressure on the nerves and discs.
Studies have shown that patients with sciatica and low back pain who received chiropractic treatment “noted a long-term outcome advantage” for chiropractic vs medical care.
A combined care approach which includes low intensity laser therapy to reduce inflammation and pain, chiropractic adjustments to correct structural misalignment, and appropriate strengthening exercises incorporated at the correct stage of care can completely alleviate sciatic pain.
We’re Here To HelpIf you currently have back or leg pain, it’s vital to avoid self-diagnosing. The origin may lie in the sciatic nerve root or may be related to another cause, unconnected to the sciatic nerve.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Wayne right away to discover the underlying problem. Doctors of chiropractic have specialized training in identifying and diagnosing the cause of musculoskeletal conditions. Dr. Wayne is committed to identifying root causes of impediments to wellness, rather than masking symptoms with unnecessary medication or surgery. Pain is the body’s way of signaling distress; let us help you pinpoint the cause and find a solution!
Call 250-860-4518 to book a consultation with Dr. Wayne and discover how we can help put an end to your pain.
Laser therapy is the safe and clinically proven effective treatment of choice for patients of any age – child to senior. This painless therapy is non-invasive, non-surgical and has no side effects.