Pain Easing Techniques for Sciatica: Treatments, Benefits, and Relief

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Sciatica is a common condition that affects the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower back and runs through the buttocks and down to your legs. The pain can range from mild to debilitating, with sciatica's intensity depending on where it occurs along the nerve pathway. 

While there are many treatment options for sciatica, chiropractic care is an effective way of addressing this condition. Several researchers have studied sciatica and chiropractic care. Thus, both of them became interrelated. Chiropractors use manual adjustments (or manipulations) of spinal bones that have become misaligned or compressed due to injury or overuse. When these vertebrae are correctly aligned, they allow for a smooth and healthy flow of energy between them - making movement more fluid and less painful.

Understanding Sciatica

With sciatica, you may feel weakness or numbness in the areas of your back and buttocks. An underlying injury can cause these symptoms to your sciatic nerve, a major pathway for sending pain signals from one side of our body to the other. The most common age range that people experience this condition is those who have reached 40 years old.

Sciatica can be caused by an injury, like the type you might sustain from falling. The pain may also come about because of a tumor on one or both of your spinal nerves and sciatic nerve(s).

Five Ways to Relieve Sciatic Pain

If you have been dealing with sciatic pain for a long time, the following are some options to relieve sciatic pain.

Pharmacological Interventions

Drugs can provide temporary relief. A licensed physician can prescribe numerous medications for sciatica pain, including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, and narcotics. Certain pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) are also helpful in treating the symptoms associated with this condition. However, you should not take them for more than three months without consulting a doctor.

NSAIDs are used to reduce pain and inflammation, but these drugs can cause serious side effects if taken for more than ten days. Research has shown that long-term use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may lead to heart risks like high blood pressure and kidney damage. The risk is higher in people who have a chronic condition because they commonly take the medication daily, which subjects them to GI tract damage over time.

Steroid Injections

Doctors may use corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain caused by an irritated nerve. The injection typically has a few month's effectiveness before it wears off, so the number of times you can receive these kinds of treatments is limited because too many could lead to more serious side effects.

Therapeutic Massage

As your massage therapist works to release the tension in your muscles, you can feel as though they are breathing new life into them. The physical benefits of deep tissue or therapeutic massage go beyond just feeling better for that moment and extend far deeper. Massage is a traditional healing art that helps to heal sore muscles and other parts of the body. The hands-on techniques stimulate blood flow in your skin, which promotes natural healing. Massage stimulates pressure receptors in the brain, reducing pain by releasing endorphins. These are hormones naturally produced when you feel good or experience pleasure.

Physical Therapy

In order to prepare for the future, once your acute pain has improved by working with a physical therapist or doctor, you can start getting back on track. It may include exercises based on correcting posture and strengthening muscles that support the spine, and increasing flexibility, which will help prevent injuries in the long run.

Passive physical therapy is a process of relieving pain by relaxing your muscles to prepare them for more intensive treatments. Sometimes, just sitting in one position can help you relax and release tension that has been built up from the day's activities.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Many people feel acupuncture provides long-term benefits from sciatica. However, the approach is different for everyone. For instance, some treatments may focus on pain points while others address an entire region or body system. 

Chiropractic Care for Sciatica

Chiropractic care is often used as a part of treatment for sciatica by addressing the problem at its source - the spine - with manual adjustments or manipulations that realign vertebrae that have become misaligned or compressed due to injury or overuse.

Holistic chiropractic care may include the following. However, the treatment plan always depends on your health condition upon the assessment by Dr. Rob Neuenschwander.

  • Cold compress: Apply a cold pack to the painful area for 15 minutes three times per day.
  • Massage therapy: Use a foam roller or tennis ball on the affected area and massage in small circular motions with light pressure. Gently stretch these muscles by lifting your leg straight out behind you as high as possible without pain while reaching down towards your feet until you feel more relief (try not to point toes).
  • Exercise: Strengthening exercises such as walking or running can help reduce sciatica symptoms. Stretching exercises that focus on lengthening muscle fibers are also helpful - try stretching those tight hamstring muscles.

Chiropractic care shows promising results in addressing the symptoms and the root cause of sciatica. Thus, sciatica and chiropractic care go hand in hand.

How Chiropractic Care Works?

When you visit Dr. Rob Neuenschwander for the first time, they will ask about how long you've had sciatica symptoms. He may also ask when it started and what triggered its development? It can be helpful to provide a timeline of events that led up to the onset of pain so that we know where there are any gaps in treatment or if anything was done incorrectly along the way.

He may ask you to perform a series of simple movements, such as side-to-side bends or flexing forward at the waist. It is part of your exam and helps provide a baseline assessment for how sciatica affects your ability to move in life's activities like walking.

Then, Dr. Rob Neuenschwander will assess you and then tailor an individualized Physical Therapy program for your needs. He may work with: 

  • Passive or active therapy to release the tension in muscles, 
  • Help retrain nerves that have been compressed,
  • Provide stability by working on balance and posture exercises;
  • Perform corrective stretching of tight muscle groups like hamstrings which are often a primary site of pain due to sitting down all day at school or work; and
  • He might also make adjustments if too much pressure is exerted into certain areas from prolonged standing hours spent on hard surfaces without any support.

Neu Life Chiropractic provides a personalized treatment plan for sciatica and other spine-related pain. After an initial consultation, we may recommend specific exercises to help reduce your symptoms while experiencing them or as prevention in the future (e.g., stretching). We also offer cervical chiropractic care with gentle adjustments that can improve mobility of spinal joints, which will ultimately relieve pressure on nerves like those causing sciatica pains. The goal is to have our patients maintain adequate posture during their day-to-day activities, so they do not encounter further back problems down the line.

Can Chiropractors Help With Long-term Relief?

Yes! As long as you maintain good chiropractic habits by coming in regularly for maintenance treatments, your quality of life will improve drastically because so much of what we do daily involves our back muscles. You'll be able to achieve the long-term benefits of chiropractic care from sciatica.

The Approach of Neu Life Chiropractic in Addressing Sciatica Through Chiropractic Care

Neu Life Chiropractic understands sciatica and how it can affect your quality of life. We are here to help put an end to the pain you've been experiencing with chiropractic treatments that will focus on treating symptoms and getting to the root of what is causing sciatic nerve irritation in your body. Chiropractors in Tomball make use of a variety of ways to help patients recover their natural alignment. They are trained to zero in on the source and work with you regarding your individual treatment needs, making gentle adjustments that will get your body back into shape.

Neu Life Chiropractic approaches sciatic nerve issues by treating patients as individuals depending on what they need at any given time. Dr. Rob Neuenschwander combines alternative methods with conventional chiropractic care to provide the best results. 

Chiropractic is highly effective in treating a variety of back pain conditions. Some people respond very quickly, while others take more time to recover. However, it really depends on the condition of their disc or joints that a Chiropractor is treating. 

In most cases, the longer an issue persists, it equates to an extended treatment before achieving correction as well. Thus, it is why it's important not to wait too long if you're experiencing these symptoms. Once chiropractors fix your spine and discs position, patients often report improvements across all aspects of health, such as sciatica relief. If you've been dealing with any kind of lower back issues like chronic neck pain or even fatigue from sitting at work all day, then give our team a call to find out if you might be a candidate for our services.

We're here to help and, with your active participation in the healing process, we can get back that quality of life! Schedule an appointment now!

References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377441#:~:text=Pain%20relievers%20such%20as%20ibuprofen,are%20sometimes%20helpful%20for%20sciatica.
  2. Over-the-counter medications time tool clinical reference. American College of Preventive Medicine website. http://acpm.org/?OTCMeds_ClinRef. Accessed April 15, 2017.
  3. Cah, E, Hall L, Ernst AA, Weiss SJ. Awareness and use of over-the-counter pain medications: a survey of emergency department patients. South Med J. 2002;95(5):529-535
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377441
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/sciatica#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1

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