The vertebral column in humans is classified into the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral sections. Each bone in the spinal column is separated by discs that provide cushioning and other protection against shocks and impacts. Nerves also run through the spine and branch out to other parts of the body. The sciatic nerve originates in the lower part of the lumbar spine. This nerve then extends all the way down to the legs and feet. In fact, the sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. When it’s under excessive pressure and compression, the nerve experiences sensations of pain and discomfort. Therefore, sciatica simply refers to the symptoms that are caused by abnormal compression of the nerve.
What Causes Sciatica?
Disc herniation is one of the leading causes of sciatica and other problems with the lower back. When a disc extends beyond its normal boundaries, it pinches any nearby nerves. The pinching in turn leads to the activation of stimulus and other sensations in the nerves. Therefore, a person who has a herniated disc in the lumbar spine is likely to feel pain shooting down the leg and into the foot. In some cases, numbness and tingling might also be felt by a person with sciatica. These unpleasant symptoms can significantly limit the range of motion of the major muscles in the lower limbs. It may be difficult for a person to flex or extend the thighs and knees. The degeneration of a disc in the lower back can also cause complications with the function of the sciatic nerve. However, such a problem doesn’t cause as much pain as disc herniation.
Treatment Options for Sciatica
Mild to moderate forms of sciatica usually do not require any type of invasive surgical treatment. However, it all depends on the unique situation. Common treatments utilized at our office include ultrasound therapy, spinal manipulation or adjustment, trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (known as TENS for short) and ice therapy. Oftentimes, a combination of methods is used for optimal results.
If you think you may be dealing with sciatica, make an appointment at La Grange Chiropractic in La Grange. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn about your treatment options.