What to do about sciatica pain?
Sciatica is one of the most common conditions that we see in the practice at Brookvale. As many as 40% of the population will have sciatica at one time or another. Sciatica is not just your typical lower back pain, it is very specific in its diagnosis and must involve the sciatic nerve in order for the pain to be called sciatica. Typically in sciatica, the person will have not only lower back pain, but also leg pain. The leg pain is at the back of the leg and can travel as far down as the big toe. If the pain in the leg is at the front, then it is not sciatica.
Commonly sciatica can be diagnosed without the use of imaging, however an MRI can be useful to confirm physical findings and assess the underlying lower back discs and vertebrae structure. Your chiropractor can refer you for any imaging needed and can confer with your medical doctor about the best treatment plan for you moving forward.
Once it is confirmed that it is sciatica, there are various conservative treatment measures that can be used. Chiropractic and other physical therapies can be very useful in treating sciatica. Addressing the underlying biomechanical, muscular and nerve issues can all help to resolve sciatica. Often specific exercises are given to help the healing process of the lower back joints and sciatic nerve, but rarely does exercise alone fix the problem.
Acupuncture can also be a great therapy for sciatica. In acupuncture therapy, sciatica is seen as arising from a blockage in the lumbar region. The pain pathway down the leg will generally coincide with the affected acupuncture channel(s) and the treatment therefore is aimed at addressing the imbalances in the channel system which will in turn help to relieve pain and any associated symptoms.
Image from Joe Muscolino
Poor diet and stress are the other two important key factors in healing. Reducing inflammation within the body is important not only to help reduce pain, but also to help reduce the sciatic nerve irritation.
If you think you have sciatica then give us a call. We will walk you through what is going on with your body and what the best next action is to take. We can arrange for any imaging to be done and will liaise with your GP to get you the best results in the fastest possible time.
Call us on 02 9938 5456 to make an appointment with one of our experienced chiropractors.