Sciatica: What It Is and What You Need to Know

by
Dr. Ben Dyer

Nearly everyone will have back pain at some point in their life, but with sciatica — well, you'll know something is different right away!

So, what is sciatica? What is sciatica pain like?

Sciatica really describes a set of symptoms rather than a condition. The most common symptom can be described as pain that begins in your lower back, travels down through your buttocks, and extends down your leg, usually on just one side of the body.

That shooting pain down your leg is often caused by compression of the sciatic nerve or one or more of the other nerves exiting your spine. And it might surprise you to know that even a tiny amount of pressure can result in a tremendous amount of pain.

So, getting rid of the associated inflammation and then opening up space for the nerve are both essential steps on the path to finding relief.

But what causes it to develop?

The sciatic nerves are the longest nerves in the body. Several individual branches or nerve roots in your lower back combine to form the sciatic nerves which travel down into each of your legs.

Although you have two sciatic nerves (one on each side of your body), sciatica symptoms typically only occur on one side of the body as noted above. If you have radiating pain down both of your legs, it is less likely that the pain is caused by a pinched sciatic nerve.

Some of the common symptoms people experience when one of the sciatic nerves is pinched or irritated include:

• Increased leg pain when sitting.

• Weakness in the leg or foot.

• Sharp pain that makes it difficult to walk.

Each of the above symptoms is a warning sign from your body. It's your body's way of letting you know you’ve pushed past its limits.

Why It Matters

Let's talk about the function of pain for a moment. It’s your body's way of signaling to you that something needs your attention.

When a problem occurs in the body, due to ergonomic stress, spinal misalignment, or degenerative changes, the body uses pain as a signal for us to pay attention and act.

And believe it or not, pain is usually the last thing to show up and the first thing to leave, whether we’re talking about injuries or spinal conditions.

The pinching or compression of a spinal nerve can occur because of an injury to one of your spinal discs (such as disc herniation), the development of a bone spur, or even ligaments that have simply increased in size.

Whatever the underlying issue, it's likely to cause noticeable levels of pain and discomfort until you've taken steps to decrease the inflammation and open up space for the affected nerve, and, in many cases, also taken steps to also improve the movement of the surrounding spinal joints.

You don't have to live in pain, and you don't have to settle for surgery, injections, or pain medications.

Movement-based strategies such as spinal adjustments, controlled exercise, and dynamic stretching are a few of the most effective ways to relieve low back issues.

Chiropractic care currently ranks at the top of many leading healthcare organisations' recommendations to relieve sciatica and low back pain.

Medications and injections and surgeries are no longer considered first-line treatments both because of their inherent risks and, ultimately, limited effectiveness.

And not only are movement-based strategies effective at providing relief, but research also indicates these may be able to offer a preventative effect when continued over time.

If you've thought about therapy that doesn't include spinal mobilisation, here’s something else to consider…

A recent study found that 20% more study participants experienced sciatica pain relief when spinal adjustments were included with a regular exercise routine.

Next Steps

At the end of the day, what is sciatica?

A seemingly sudden onset of pain, numbness, or weakness in your legs that can be scary. It has the potential to severely impact your quality of life.

But when it comes to what you need to know about sciatica, rest assured that you don't need to immediately resort to medications, injections, or surgery to correct the problem.

Top research publications have shown that risky prescription pain medications are hardly ever more effective than a spinal adjustment.

The best way to treat sciatica is with the care offered in our practice.

Spinal adjustments, stretching, and exercise have all been shown to be extremely effective at reducing sciatica pain by reducing the pinching (or compression) on your spinal nerves.

Starting with chiropractic care is the smartest decision you can make.

If you or someone you know is struggling with sciatica pain, schedule an appointment with a chiropractor specialising in sciatica treatment in Hong Kong like us today.

Our doors are open, and our expert team is here to help!

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