A person suffering from sciatica often complains of hip pain that extends to the buttocks and the calves. It usually comes with other symptoms like numbing and tingling sensations on the toes and feet. For most patients, the pain only occurs on one leg.
A study explains that herniated discs account for 90 percent of sciatica cases around the globe. The bulging discs end up compressing the nerve root of the spinal cord. Besides a ruptured disc, there are other apparent causes of the condition, including:
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone spurs
- Piriformis syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease
- Poor posture
- Head or neck Injury
- Spinal tumors
- Tumors on spinal cord nerve roots
Getting to Know Sciatica
The symptoms of sciatica tend to vary from one patient to another. Most patients report that their symptoms tend to spike when they cough, sneeze, or suddenly change their position. Here are some of the common examples of sciatica symptoms that you should look out for:
- Searing, tingling, or burning sensation on one of your legs
- Constant throbbing on one side of your butt or legs
- A sudden jolt of pain that prevents you from walking or standing
- Pain that often radiates to leg and even into your toes
- Pain that typically worsens whenever you sit for too long
- Weakness or numbness when you attempt moving your lower limb
- Pain that varies in intensity and duration
Although sciatica can be quite debilitating, it rarely causes permanent nerve or tissue damage. It’s highly likely for those suffering from a mild type of sciatica to get well. The pain may subside over time if you practice proper self-care or seek assistance from a specific chiropractor.
Sciatica and The Nerve Roots of the Spinal Cord
In understanding sciatica, it’s crucial to know a bit more about the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. It traverses the entire length of your lower body, from one side of the buttocks to one of your feet. Primarily, it allows you to feel various sensations and sends the instructions from your brain to your limbs. Five nerve fibers stemming from the lumbar and sacral regions of the spine comprise the sciatic nerve. As a result, patients’ symptoms may vary, depending on the involved nerve fibers. Some of the specific symptoms that may you can experience include:
- S1 nerve compression sciatica – The S1 nerve root supplies sensation and motor function instruction to your toes. Hence, if you notice numbness or weakness when standing or raising your heel, you may be suffering from this type of sciatica.
- L4 nerve compression sciatica: Compression in the L4 nerve root can result in difficulty in straightening the affected leg. It could also diminish patellar reflexes, which means if your physician tries tapping on your knee, your leg won’t jerk.
- L5 nerve compression sciatica: You can tell that your L5 nerve root is affected by checking for numbness or pain on top of your foot or the skin found between your big toe and the next toe.
It’s also possible that more than one of your nerve roots suffer from compression. In such cases, you will notice a combination of the symptoms enumerated above.
Signs You Need Medical Assistance for Sciatica
Fortunately, even with the extreme and prolonged pain caused by sciatica, it’s not a life-threatening problem. However, you should still check if the symptoms progress over time. If it does get worse, you should seek medical assistance. Take note of the following symptoms below and report to your primary healthcare provider if you experience any of them:
- The pain doesn’t go away – If your pain continues to worsen and you feel numbness or weakness on your leg, you may have serious nerve damage.
- The pain persists on both limbs – As we discussed earlier, sciatica is mostly limited to one limb. However, some bilateral sciatica cases affect both legs and cause a severe impact on the bladder and bowels. It’s also likely for patients with bilateral sciatica to suffer from genital dysfunctions and cauda equina.
- You feel feverish, or you have appetite loss – It’s rare and often abnormal for sciatica patients to experience fever or appetite loss. For good measure, you should get in touch with your doctor if you experience such symptoms.
How You Can Manage Sciatica
You can do a lot of things to manage your discomfort and pain, even without surgical intervention. While it can’t replace specific chiropractic, proper self-care can provide you with some relief from your sciatica. Check out some of the self-care techniques you can use:
- Hot and cold compress: Try applying a hot or cold compress on the affected area every 20 minutes each day. You can experiment with both types of compresses and determine which suits you better. You can apply either of the two one at a time. Just be sure to check the temperature against your skin to avoid scalding or frostbites.
- Use pain medications: You can find plenty of OTC or prescription pills used for pain relief. Some of the options you may find in your local drugstore could include NSAIDs like naproxen or ibuprofen that can reduce body inflammation and muscle relaxants for short-term pain relief.
Sciatica Relief Using A Natural Healing Method
Besides self-care techniques, a specific Vancouver BC chiropractor can help you manage your condition. Many sciatica patients rely on specific chiropractic to heal their pinched nerves naturally. Specific chiropractors correct the problem by gently adjusting the spine from top to bottom. This way, patients could feel relieved from lower back pain and restore their head and spine’s normal alignment. While it may seem a bit unusual, many have found great success from their chiropractic care sessions.
Here at our office, we study each patient’s case and gauge the severity of the problem. We then take measurements and examine diagnostic images such as x-ray results to determine the key areas we need to work on. If you have been dealing with sciatica for a long time, our specific chiropractor can help. Find out more about the technique or book an appointment with us today.
To schedule a consultation in our Vancouver office call 604-551-7283, or just click the button below.