Sciatica Treatment in Fairfax, VA
Sciatica is a pain that originates from injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the most significant and most extended body that supplies the buttock or gluteal area. A sciatica person will experience pain anywhere from the lower back, the hips, down to the buttocks, and even the legs. If you are suffering from Sciatica, our Chiropractor Dr. Gregory Lee DC, at Active Family Wellness Clinic in Fairfax, can help. Visit our Chiropractic office in Fairfax to know more about treatments available for Sciatica.
TWO TYPES OF NERVE DISTURBANCES
- Compressed lesion –
The sciatic nerve may be directly compressed by a bulging lumbar disc. The soft inner tissue may exude out or herniate through the outer core and press against the sciatic nerve.
- Facilitative lesion –
An acidic chemical irritant from the disc material (hyaluronan) may leak out and facilitate inflammation, irritation and possibly a lesion in the area around the sciatic nerve.
SYMPTOMS OF SCIATICA
- A constant burning sensation or a shooting pain starting in the lower back or buttock and radiating down the front or back of the thigh and leg and/or foot.
- Numbness in the back of the leg.
- One-sided symptoms which typically affects one leg. Rarely, both legs may be affected together.
Sciatica symptoms may feel worse with certain postures, like while sitting, trying to stand up, bending the spine forward, twisting the spine, lying down, and/or while coughing.
CAUSES OF SCIATICA
A slipped or herniated disc that directly compresses the sciatic nerve is the most common cause of sciatica.
The discs in between vertebrae of the spine may naturally wear down and degenerate. This may also cause sciatica.
Spinal stenosis, the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal. may reduce the available space for the spinal cord and nerves.
Other medical conditions that could cause sciatica includes:
- Trauma or Tumour to the lumbar spine may also impact the sciatic nerve.
LONG TERM PROBLEMS DUE TO IGNORING SCIATICA
There are several issues that can arise from untreated sciatica. They are as follows
- If you don’t seek medical treatment for your condition, then you run a risk of suffering nerve damage that may be permanent. This can result in pain and limitations moving about.
- Nerve damage may also result to loss of feeling in the affected limb.
In some rare instances, the part of the spinal cord that allows you control over your bladder may be impacted, leading to urinary incontinence.
TEMPORARY PAIN RELIEF FOR SCIATICA
- Use heating pads and ice packs to relieve pain and inflammation for sciatic conditions, you may want to alternate between both treatments to ascertain which works best for you. Typical treatment time is 15-20 minutes.
- Stretching and steadily exercising your hamstrings will improve blood circulation to the injured areas and lessen pain and inflammation. Stretch your hamstrings to prevent them from becoming stiff and tight.
- Simple low-impact aerobic exercise like walking around your neighbourhood/treadmill can release endorphins and reduce the inflammation around your sciatic nerve roots.
- Over-the-counter analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications e.g. Ibuprofen, or Naproxen can help reduce the inflammation of the nerve and lessen the pain. A health professional is in the best position to give you advice on which will benefit you the most.
- Chiropractic treatments does a lot to relieve pain and relax tense muscles.
TREATMENT FOR SCIATICA
- Chiropractic adjustments relax muscles, increase range of motion and decrease pain.
- You may start physical therapy exercises, and find that exercise movements decrease sciatica by reducing pressure on the nerve. Aerobic exercise programs as walking, swimming, water aerobics are usually recommended to strengthen the muscles of your back, abdomen and legs.
- For severe cases, an injection of a corticosteroid into the lower back might help reduce the pain and the inflammation around the affected nerve roots.
- Alternative therapies may include massage, yoga, acupuncture.
- Spinal surgery may be explored as a last resort for a long term resolution of the condition. Also, in very severe nerve damage, debilitating pain, and loss of bladder or bowel control.
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How do we treat SCIATICA?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT Sciatica/Pinched Nerve
The initial lines of management of sciatica that may include pain relief medications could be covered by the most basic insurance schemes. Enquiry with your insurance provider to determine the cover for more complex interventions such as physical therapy and surgery is necessary.
Sciatica mostly results from a bulging or slipped disc that compresses the sciatic nerve. This may occur without any physical trigger because the bones of the spine and vertebra wear out with age.
Sudden twists or maneuvers of the hip or back while exercising can also result in a slipped disc leading to sciatica.
Other health conditions may lead to sciatica, such as a tumor of the spine, osteoarthritis, or trauma.
Most people with sciatica get better in a few weeks with at-home remedies. If your pain is fairly mild and it isn’t stopping you from doing your daily activities, your doctor will first recommend trying some combination of these basic solutions: stretching, some bed rest, hot and cold packs, OTC pain medicines.
Bending down to lift a heavy object can cause a great deal of pain when one already has sciatica. Wearing high heels, or uncomfortable shoes can worsen the condition. Putting on weight, or obesity cause a lot of strain on damage joints. A pregnancy condition also distorts normal body homeostasis and aggravate a sciatic condition. Poor postures on standing, walking, sitting on very hard surfaces must all be discouraged.
When you notice pain in your lower back, hip, leg, or even toes, you should see the chiropractors at The Joint as soon as you can. You don’t have to live with the kind of pain caused by sciatica and if you seek care for it as soon as possible, then you have a better chance of finding a solution for it before it morphs into more serious problems.
Both heat and ice treatments on inflamed and painful areas are beneficial. It is recommended to apply either for about 10 to 20 minutes per session up to three or four times daily. A cold pack can reduce inflammation, which is associated with sciatic nerve pain, while heat helps to increase the blood flow to this area.
Bilateral sciatica may happen to both legs at the same time. This type of sciatica is rare and may occur due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae and/or the disc at several spinal levels, or from serious conditions such as cauda equina syndrome.
Sitting for long periods is generally not a good idea for sciatica. However, some tips can be applied while sitting to cushion any flare-ups.
Use an ergonomic chair that fits your body.
Take breaks—get up and move every 15-30 minutes.
Sit up straight, all the way back in your chair so your back and buttocks are supported, rather than sitting towards the front of your chair.
Sit with both feet flat on the floor, not just your toes. Don’t cross your legs or lean to one side.
Sitting on hard surfaces for a very long time worsens a sciatica, adopting good sitting postures as listed above can be a lot of help in managing the condition.
The following may cause an existing sciatic condition to flare up or worsen:Poor Posture
- Wearing tight-fit clothing
- Sitting for long periods with hard objects in the back pocket
- Using shoes with high heels and aren’t adequately cushioned
- Excessive Weight
- Bending Over When Lifting Heavy Objects
- Sedentary Lifestyle
The initial signs of sciatica are no different from the most common symptoms, and they include Lower back pain, pain in the rear or leg, hip pain, constant pain on one side of the buttock, or a shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up.
- Pain relief medications like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen will help ease your pain and inflammation.
- Massaging the back, hip or legs with a topical analgesic like Methyl Salicylate may also offer some relief.
- When pain persists for more than three days, and limits physical activity, schedule an appointment with your doctor for the necessary workup and management.