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What Is It?
Sciatic is a form of neuritis or inflammation of a nerve, and involves the sciatica nerve. The sciatic nerve is simply a continuation of the lower spinal nerves as they pass down the posterior of the leg.
Many people claim to have sciatica, or a diagnosed with sciatica simply because they have posterior leg pain. There is, however, important distinctions between true sciatica and other causes of leg pain.
Sciatica is due to irritation directly to the sciatic nerve, or the nerve roots which form it, as they travel out from the spine. It is most specifically felt down the back of the thigh into the calf and foot. Signs of nerve irritation will present as poor reflexes and changes in skin sensation.
WARNING: Numbness around the crotch, or a weak bladder and bowel, are signs that need immediate medical assessment.
More commonly, leg pain is due to joint sprains and muscle spasm, which cause referred pain that is similar to sciatic pain.
Who Cares! How can I fix it?
In most cases a few days of rest will ease the pain. Unfortunately the original cause of the pain will remain and may be irritated again, so it may be worthwhile having it assessed as well.
If things don't settle down a course of adjustments, stretches and massage are a good option. Even in the case of disc bulges, adjustments can help restore function and reduce symptoms. Improved mobility helps the cartilage nutrition, and it's healing abilities.
The Chiropractic Approach.
The chiropractic approach to any lower limb disorder will involve the lower back, and pelvis, in particular. Specific adjustments are delivered to areas that show signs of poor joint movement, muscle spasm and nerve root irritation.
Recovery of mobility and pain relief of the low back and limb should occur over a course of adjustments. In most cases at least 10-12 will be required to get the process started, with follow up care if required in the future.
Other symptoms commonly associated with lower back and limb complaints such as hip and knee pain, bowel upsets, like IBS, menstrual pains, and in some cases weak bladder muscles may show signs of improvement as well.
It is important to stress that the aim of care is to remedy the mobility of the spinal segments, correct the support functions, and allow the neural pathways to restore muslce balance and coordination.