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Oakland Chiropractor >Oakland Chiropractic News >    Sciatica: What You Don't Know Might Surprise You
Sciatica: What You Don't Know Might Surprise You

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Oakland, CA

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Sciatica: What You Don't Know Might Surprise You

Ongoing pain in the sciatic nerve is known as sciatica. The sciatic nerve runs all the way down one's lower body, from the edge of the back to the bottom of the legs. The sciatic nerve is the lengthiest one in the body, covering territory all the way from the back through the legs. The sciatic nerve keeps the muscles of the lower legs functioning correctly, causing sensation in the lower extremities.

Often misunderstood, the lower back and leg pain known as sciatica is quite common. Rather than diagnosing all nerve problems as sciatica, though, the term should only be used when referring to a set of particular symptoms. People in their thirties through fifties most often mention having symptoms of sciatica. People with sciatica usually exhibit lower spine problems that have grown worse over time. Injuries are not known to cause sciatica.

Signs of Sciatica
Sufferers report pain all the way down the sciatic nerve, from the bottom of the back to the bottom of the legs. Nevertheless, there are multiple symptoms associated with sciatica; it just depends on which part of the sciatic nerve is most affected. There are many forms to the discomfort caused by sciatica. From numbness and weak muscles to an aching, burning, or tingling feeling. This pain, most of the time, only manifests itself on one side of the body. People also sometimes feel a "pins and needles" type of sensation in the foot.

The symptoms start off minor, but the discomfort and pain intensifies as time goes on. Illness or sudden movements can increase the amount of pain one feels with sciatica. For example, sneezing or coughing can provoke pain, as well as turning or bending suddenly after having been sitting for awhile.

Diagnosing Sciatica
To get a true diagnosis of sciatica, your chiropractor will undertake a complete evaluation of your medical profile. The chiropractor starts by reviewing your medical history. Then your doctor will ask for both physical and neurological exams that especially deal with the spine and legs. Detailing the discomfort you feel is crucial. Tell the chiropractor exactly when it started and what makes it increase and decrease. Another part of the exam might require you to perform basic tasks in front of your chiropractor. These tasks test your reflexes, muscle strength, and sensory response. These tasks will consist of basic movements; for example, lying on the examination table and lifting each of your legs up in the air.

Your chiropractor may advise the use of diagnostic imaging tests like an X-ray, CT scan or MRI. These tests are good tools for gauging if there is something significantly more dangerous happening (for example, a tumor or serious infection). Some patients may exhibit more serious symptoms, or may not have been helped by a period of general treatment. For these sufferers, diagnostic imaging can be quite useful.

Ways to Treat Sciatica
Sciatica sufferers who partake in general, conservative treatment usually respond favorably. Because sciatica is a series of symptoms, the suggested course of treatment will depend on the root cause of the problem.

Choosing chiropractic care means foregoing drugs and surgery. Chiropractic care aims to keep the spine functioning as it should, fix spinal movement when need be, and end a patient's pain in the spinal area. Because many issues can result in symptoms of sciatica, patients' courses of treatment will vary. Some chiropractors use numerous methods of treatment including exercises that rehabilitate, adjustments of the spine, and ice and/or heat therapy.

Stop Sciatica Before It Starts
You can usually keep sciatica from negatively impacting your health by making spinal and back health a priority. What You Can Do:

  • Exercise regularly
  • If you smoke, quit!
  • Make sure your posture is right
  • Eat well and stay at a healthy weight
  • Pay attention to how your body is moving when you lift weight
  • Having an active lifestyle

Again, sciatica deals with symptoms that occur on the sciatic nerve. The doctor will give you a thorough examination, going over your symptoms and assessing your lifestyle and medical history. This enables the doctor to give you the personalized course of treatment that you need. Contact your doctor of chiropractic to receive more information about sciatica care. You'll then be able to figure out the right treatment option for you.

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