Sciatica might be a word you heard from one of your family members, friends or colleagues, but have no clue about. It’s among the most alarming symptoms for many healthcare professionals, including Dr. Andrew O'Neill, our lower back pain chiropractor in Park Ridge.
But what is sciatica really? How does it feel to live with sciatica pain? How bad can it get? More importantly, what are your options to alleviate the pain it causes?
Millions of adult Americans have sciatica, a problem that causes searing back pain. Usually, it only affects one side of the hips and buttocks. Then, the pain radiates to the leg, thigh, and toes. As a lower back pain chiropractor in Park Ridge, Dr. O'Neill has noted several sciatica symptoms from our patients, such as:
Some sciatica patients, especially those with extreme nerve damage, experience worse symptoms like bilateral pain and loss of bowel control. Those people often have to call for immediate medical assistance due to the debilitating effects of the symptoms.
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Unfortunately, it’s a life-long condition that can cause varying levels of pain and discomfort. It primarily affects the sciatic nerve, a long nerve bundle that runs from your lower back to your toes. Sometimes, this nerve gets compressed or irritated, triggering the onset of sciatica.
Here are some of the most likely reasons why your sciatica symptoms started to appear:
A bulging or slipped disc accounts for millions of sciatica cases in the country. Essentially, your discs serve as the spine's cushioning material. They prevent your vertebral bones from rubbing on each other as you move. Unfortunately, an intervertebral disc can bulge or rupture, causing the material to leak and irritate the neighboring nerve, such as your sciatic nerve.
Osteophytes or bone spurs grow when you have arthritis. It’s a bone overgrowth with an angular shape that mainly develops along the joints. Sometimes, bones overgrow and press on the sciatic nerve, causing nerve irritation.
As we grow older, the intervertebral discs also begin to deteriorate. Sadly, when they start wearing out, it increases the risk for the bones to slip and press on your sciatic nerve. It can also cause your nerve passageways to narrow - a condition doctors refer to as spinal stenosis. When this happens, your nerves also become prone to getting compressed or irritated.
According to CDC, roughly 72 million Americans might get diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis by 2030. It’s an autoimmune problem that develops at any age and can inflict massive pain and discomfort to an ailing patient. Unfortunately, it also increases one’s risk for sciatica because the inflamed joints tend to pinch the nerves.
When a tumor grows along the lumbar spine, it puts your nerve roots at risk of getting pinched or compressed. As it increases in size, it also puts more and more pressure on the nerves, causing you to experience worse flareups. Permanent nerve damage is also very likely.
Rarely but possible, sciatica can stem from a spinal infection. Similar to the conditions we shared above, an infection also puts undue pressure on the nerves. Besides causing you intense back pain, a spinal disease can also weaken your spinal column, making it susceptible to fractures.
Besides the conditions and diseases we mentioned above, studies also consider spine misalignment as a leading cause or trigger of back pain. This problem frequently follows a neck trauma or injury. So, if you suffered from a car collision, whiplash injury, or a jolt to the head during a football match, you might have misaligned spinal bones. Misalignment of the spine can be the root cause of a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve.
Sometimes, it’s hard to grasp the impact of sciatica until you experience it yourself. It’s a horrible condition that can prevent you from enjoying physical activities, causing you to feel constantly bad for yourself.
Fortunately, you can now tap into healthcare innovations such as specific chiropractic. With this natural and holistic approach to healing, you have a better chance of coping with sciatica symptoms. Essentially, specific chiropractic is a unique chiropractic approach that focuses on restoring the alignment of the spine from neck to bottom.
Unknown to many, the spinal bones are highly susceptible to slipping away from their original positions. This is all because of their flexible nature.
Thankfully, with the help of a lower back pain chiropractor in Park Ridge, you can slowly re-adjust your spinal bones and restore your spinal column’s natural curvature. In effect, this also removes the stress on your sciatic nerve, allowing you to experience fewer sciatica flareups.
Are you seeking a natural way to relieve your sciatica? Consult with Dr. O'Neill.
To schedule a consultation with Optimal Health Family Chiropractic, call (201) 505 - 8984, or just click the button below.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sciatica Pain
Is it better to move or stay still with sciatica?
It's better to stay active rather than rest. Sciatica pain will increase with prolonged inactivity and decrease with motion. Simple movements like using the stairs can help.
How do I get my sciatic nerve to stop hurting?
Hot and cold therapy can provide immediate relief of sciatic nerve pain. Ice can help reduce inflammation, while heat encourages blood flow to the painful area.
Can sciatica be permanent?
If the sciatic nerve is damaged, it could result in numbness, tingling, and weakness in the knees or legs. If left untreated, numbness and weakness may become permanent.