Sciatica Leg Pain

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One of the most common conditions treated by chiropractors, including myself, is sciatica.

What is sciatica? 

Sciatica is a type of pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve.  The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body.  It starts in the lower back and sacrum and extends down the leg all the way to the foot.  Typically, sciatic pain is felt in the back part of the leg but it can also be felt in the buttock, the calf and even in the foot and toes. 

What causes sciatica? 

It can be caused by anything that irritates or inflames the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve.  Things in this category would include misalignment of the spinal bones (subluxation), bulging or herniated disc, or degeneration in the low back.  Sciatica can also be caused anything that irritates or inflames the sciatic nerve itself.  This can be caused by a poor diet high in sugar and processed foods or it can be caused by spasm and tightness in the muscles of the hip and buttocks.  It is important to properly diagnose the CAUSE of the pain before it can be effectively treated.   That means a thorough spinal examination that includes x-rays of the low back. 

How do you treat sciatica? 

In my office, we take a three-pronged approach: 

  1. Chiropractic examination and, if indicated, chiropractic adjustments to correct the subluxation (misalignment) of the spine and pelvis. 
  2. Nutrition Response Testing® analysis to check for any underlying organ weakness or nutritional deficiencies that can cause inflammation and pain in the sciatic nerve. 
  3. Assisted stretches to reduce muscle spasm and tightness.  This includes stretches in the office and stretches to do at home. 

How can you prevent sciatica? 

 First, get regular chiropractic adjustments to maintain normal spinal alignment and prevent irritation of the sciatic nerve roots.

Build your foundation of health.  The best prevention against sciatica or ANY health condition is to have a strong, over-all foundation of health.  And the best way to build that foundation is with Nutrition Response Testing®.  This allows us to uncover any hidden potential problems and address them before they become a problem. 

Exercise is important, especially stretches for the hips and legs.  The best muscle to stretch for prevention of sciatica is the piriformis muscle.  Here’s a diagram:

Make sure to stretch both sides and hold the stretch for 3-5 big breaths. 

Make sure to stretch both sides and hold the stretch for 3-5 big breaths. 

Do NOT sit on your wallet.  That is a factor in many cases of sciatica we see in men. 

Eat a healthy diet.  Many foods can increase inflammation in the body and make us more susceptible to any pain, even sciatica pain.  Reduce the sugar and starches (bread, potatoes, rice and pasta) in the diet to help reduce inflammation.  Eat foods that reduce inflammation like fresh vegetables, healthy fats and oils (think avocado, butter, ghee olive oil and coconut oil) as well as wild caught fish like salmon and tuna.

If you are suffering with sciatica pain, it’s important to do something about it sooner rather than later.  I have seen many cases where a patient waited, hoping it would go away, and suffered much longer than was necessary.  Conservative treatment should always be your first option to avoid toxic injections and drugs.  Don’t delay!  For more information or to make an appointment, call us at 501-842-1004

Travis Wyly