If you’ve experienced sharp pain that radiates from your lower spine down the back of your legs, you’ve experienced sciatica, named so because it travels the path of the sciatic nerve. Although this pain can usually be resolved in a few weeks with self care, there are many who find no relief through conventional means. It is at this point that a medical professional is consulted and treatment options are discussed. If you are experiencing radiating pain in your lower back that doesn’t respond to medications, stretching, or hot and cold treatment, you may be suffering from sciatica and in desperate need of the treatment options described below.
As described above, sciatica is pain that moves from your spine to your buttocks and through the back of your thigh and calf. Pain can vary from mild to severe. It is typically felt on only one side of the body but can be accompanied by numbness on the other side. You may also experience weakness in the affected side. Symptoms may include a barely noticeable ache or a sharp, excruciating pain that is exacerbated by the slightest movement. Those with severe sciatica may find little relief throughout the day, as both sitting and moving can trigger a jolt of pain.
The loss of bladder or bowel control is a debilitating and potentially embarrassing symptom. Remember, sciatica occurs when the nerves in your lumbar spine are irritated. These nerves are essential for communication between your brain, legs, and bowels. Those with sciatica who experience incontinence should consult a chiropractor as soon as possible.
Incontinence, accompanied with the intense pain described above, can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks and next to impossible to perform work functions. Sciatica sufferers who are unable to work are often forced to apply for disability benefits, only to be denied due to an inability to prove the severity of the impairment. Remember, sitting for long periods of time can exacerbate sciatica symptoms, and even sedentary jobs can become unbearable for sciatica sufferers.
What Are The Most Common Causes of Sciatica
The painful symptoms of sciatica travel along the sciatic nerve. It is when this nerve becomes pinched that sciatica can be felt. This is usually caused by a herniated disk or a bone spur; however, in rare cases, the sciatic nerve can be compromised as a result of a tumor or disease. Although, the underlying cause of sciatica is a pinched nerve, there are certain lifestyle choices that can raise your risk of developing this condition.
Risk Factors To Be Aware Of
You have little control over certain risk factors, such as natural disk degeneration. As we age, the disks between our vertebrae shrink, increasing the risk of developing a herniated disk or bone spur. But there are risk factors that you can control. For example, your occupation may have a tremendous impact on whether or not you develop sciatica. If your job requires heavy lifting or, conversely, requires you to remain stationary for long periods of time, you are at an increased risk of developing this painful condition.
Your level of activity goes hand in hand with additional risk factors: body weight and blood sugar levels. People who are overweight are at an increased risk because of increased pressure on the spine. And those with diabetes run the risk of having nerve damage as a result of high blood sugar levels. There is a bright side, however. Because these risk factors are within your control, there are reliable ways to prevent sciatica.
How Do You Prevent Sciatica?
You may not be able to change your chosen profession, but you can take steps to help prevent sciatica. For instance, if you have a sit-down job, take frequent breaks to move around, and when you are sitting, make sure that you’re sitting properly, facing forward with your feet on the ground. If you have a blue-collar job that requires heavy lifting, avoid straining or twisting your back. And never try to lift anything that you aren’t sure you can handle. “Lift with the knees” are words to live by.
When at home, you can maintain an active lifestyle and healthy diet. This will ensure that you are at an appropriate body weight that isn’t straining your back and that your blood sugar levels are normal. However, prevention may not be enough for long-time sufferers of sciatica, and an alternative approach may need to be taken.
How Chiropractic Treatment Combats Sciatica Pain
It’s only natural that someone would want to explore every treatment option available to treat debilitating back pain. But in their resolve, people often turn to invasive procedures, such as surgery or steroid injections, for relief. While these treatments can be effective in severe cases, they can result in serious side effects and prolonged recovery periods and should only be explored as a last resort.
Chiropractic treatment is a non-invasive option that aims to realign the spine and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. This is a safe and effective measure to reduce pain and increase mobility in people who suffer from sciatica.
Schedule a Chiropractic Consultation in Bradenton
If your sciatica is unresponsive to self care, there may be an underlying issue that is triggering pain, reducing your mobility, and preventing you from living your life to the fullest. While you may feel like your back is against the wall, a chiropractor in Bradenton can effectively diagnose your condition and manipulate your spine to treat sciatica without the need for invasive surgery. Before symptoms of pain, numbness, and weakness threaten your mobility, schedule a consultation with a chiropractor who treats sciatica from Manasota Accident and Injury Center.