Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation and the resulting inflammation and discomfort can be caused by a back injury, herniated disc or slipped disc, degenerative disc disease, a fall of some kind, or spinal stenosis that causes damage to the top of the sciatic nerve as it begins to travel away from the spine. Sciatica may also be the result of the nerve being pinched between two muscle groups or a bone and a muscle. No matter what the cause of sciatica the symptoms are basically the same. In the beginning, numbness and tingling may be mildly uncomfortable, but over time they can become quite severe leading to extreme pain that often radiates downward along the entire length of the leg.
If sciatica is diagnosed in the earliest stages, a chiropractor may be able to slow down the progression of the nerve damage and prevent the problem from becoming severe. In most cases, once the symptoms begin to appear, they will remain to some degree until the cause is fully addressed and the problem corrected. If the sciatica is caused by a pinched nerve, a chiropractor may be able to adjust the spine and relieve pressure on the pinched nerve.
Physical therapy can relieve the pain and discomfort of sciatica by re-establishing proper blood flow to the area and possibly strengthening the tissues enough to relieve any inflammation and pressure that may be in the area. If the condition is diagnosed in its earliest stages, the increased blood flow to the area that is provided by the additional exercise may stimulate a healing response that is strong enough to reduce many of the symptoms of sciatica. Stretching and manual manipulation exercises may also prove to be beneficial. Combined with regular chiropractic adjustments, the doctor may be able to provide sustained relief for patients who suffer from sciatica.
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