Lumbosacral radiculopathy, also known as Sciatica, is a disorder that causes pain in the lower back and hip which radiates down the back of the thigh into the leg. This damage is caused by compression of the nerve roots which exit the spine, levels L1- S4. The compression can result in tingling, radiating pain, numbness, paresthesia and occasional shooting pain. Radiculopathy can occur in any part of the spine, but it is most common in the lower back. Overall, lumbosacral radiculopathy is an extraordinarily common complaint seen in clinical practice and comprises a large proportion of annual doctor visits. The vast majority of cases are benign and will resolve with conservative management making chiropractic the most appropriate first step.
SOME OF THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF SCIATICA:
- Lumbar Herniated Disc. A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel like nucleus breaks through the outer annulus fibrosus of the disc. The disc material can press against an adjacent nerve root and compress delicate nerve tissue and cause sciatica.
- Degenerative joint disease (DJD)/bulging disc. A bulging disc is a disc which has worn down over time due to repetitive stresses, causing the disc to lose height and become thin. This frequently irritates nerve structures through chemical changes which can cause back and leg complaints.
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a nerve compression disorder most often affecting older adults. Leg pain similar to sciatica may occur as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis. The back pain is usually positional, often brought on by activities such as standing or walking and relieved by sitting down. When spinal stenosis develops, passageways for the exiting nerves become narrow or clogged causing nerve compression or spinal cord compression.
- Spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis is a disorder that most often affects the lumbar spine. It is characterized by one vertebra slipping forward over an adjacent vertebra. When a vertebra slips and is displaced, spinal nerve root compression occurs and often causes sciatic leg pain. Spondylolisthesis is categorized as developmental (found at birth, develops during childhood) or acquired from spinal degeneration, trauma or physical stress (eg, weight lifting, gymnastics).
- Trauma. Sciatica can result from direct nerve compression caused by external forces to the lumbar or sacral spinal nerve roots. Examples include motor vehicle accidents, falling down, football and other sports. The impact may injure the nerves or, occasionally, fragments of broken bone may compress the nerves.
- Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is named for the piriformis muscle and the pain caused when the muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome develops when muscle spasms develop in the piriformis muscle thereby compressing the sciatic nerve
Chiropractic treatment focuses on utilizing spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), or more commonly known as the chiropractic adjustment, to reduce joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine and other joints in the body in an effort to reduce inflammation and improve function of both the affected joint and nervous system. Our doctors may also utilize physical therapy, therapeutic modalities, taping and strapping, nutrition, joint supports, exercises and home therapy regimens to quicken recovery. Treatment is safe, non-invasive, and a non-addictive alternative to prescription medications or over-the-counter pain medications. By increasing joint mobility and improving your nervous system function and spinal health, your body has the ability to better manage symptoms caused by lumbar radicuolpathy/sciatica.
To see if chiropractic care is right for your condition, the highly trained doctors at Chiropractic Orthopedic Associates will perform a consultation, examination and if necessary, refer you out for diagnostic imaging such as x-ray or MRI. Based on the findings of our chiropractic exam and consultation, your doctor of chiropractic may elect to co-treat your low back pain with other healthcare professionals. We work with a network of healthcare providers that specialize in pain management, orthopedics, neurology, internal medicine, physiatry, neurosurgery and more.