Chiropractic care is a non-conventional method of pain relief and restoring mobility that has emerged as an alternative and effective treatment option for sciatica. Sciatica is a typical pain that arises in the low back or buttock due to multiple causes and travels into one or both legs. Sciatic pain can be characterized as an electric shock-like shooting leg pain or similar to dull, achy, pins and needles sensations. Other symptoms of sciatica may include numbness, burning, and tingling sensations. Oftentimes, this pain is also called referred or radiating pain, neuralgia or neuropathy.
There are various traditional methods to treat sciatica including specific exercises, pain relief medications, physiotherapy and in severe cases, surgical intervention. However, their effectiveness and prognosis vary greatly from person to person.
Chiropractic Treatment of Sciatica Symptoms
Chiropractic care is a non-conventional method of pain relief that is completely drug-free and non-invasive (non-surgical). The idea of chiropractic treatment care is to help stimulate the body’s healing potential. It is based on the principle that reduced spinal movement causes pain and limit function and athletic performance.
In college and while training, students of chiropractic care learn several different adjustment techniques and other non-traditional ways that enable them to treat multiple types of subluxations and pain disorders. Techniques vary from those that combine minimal force and gentle pressure to a swift high-velocity thrust. Mastering the each technique is an art that requires time, skill and precision.
The type of chiropractic care therapy depends on the underlying cause of the patient’s sciatica. A complete chiropractic treatment plan may include multiple different treatments such as spinal adjustments (sometimes called spinal manipulation), ice/cold therapies, TENS and ultrasound. Following are more details on how these individual therapies help relieve sciatica pain.
- Spinal manipulation or spinal adjustments – These are the at the core of chiropractic care. Manipulation of the spine helps restore misaligned vertebral bodies in the spinal column and frees restricted movement of the spine. It helps minimize nerve irritability responsible for low back pain, muscle spasm, inflammation, and other associated symptoms of to sciatica. Spinal manipulation is proven to be safe and effective and it should be done by an experienced chiropractor.
- Ice/Cold therapy – It helps to control sciatic pain by reducing inflammation.
- Ultrasound – It produces a gentle heat generated by sound waves that penetrate deep into soft tissues. It also helps reduce muscle spasms and sciatic pain by boosting blood circulation.
- TENS – It is abbreviated as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a small box-like device that is used as a portable muscle stimulating machine to massage muscles and soft tissues. Electrical current of variable intensities is transmitted deep into the muscles to reduce muscle spasms and control acute pain.
Chiropractic Limitations in Treating Sciatica
There are various causes of sciatica that are beyond the scope of chiropractic care. You will be referred to another specialty if your chiropractor determines that your disorder requires treatment or spinal adjustment by another type of doctor. In some cases, your chiropractic specialist may co-manage the patient’s care with the other specialist (such as physiotherapists, neurosurgoens etc.) and continue to address your sciatica symptoms.
Dr. Mathew Gutierrez is a chiropractor in Dallas, Tx who specializes in the comprehensive treatment of sciatica along with herniated discs, bulging discs and low back pain. If you are in the Dallas, Tx area and are looking for an evaluation and resolution of your sciatic pain, feel free to get into the office for help.