Article Reviewed & Updated on 9/21/2022
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a common condition that causes pain and other types of discomfort in the back. The pain and discomfort can extend to the hips, legs, and feet. The pain of Sciatica is severe and can restrict mobility for many people.
It is basically caused when the sciatic nerve is irritated. The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back all the way down to your spine and legs.
Sciatica pain symptoms can include pain, tingling, and numbness that can make it difficult for people to stand or sit without excruciating pain. There can be many causes of Sciatica, such as injuries to the lower back.
Other than that, if you have degenerative disc disease, then any wear and tear of the spinal discs can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause pain.
People who have bone sprouts can also complain of sciatic pain. The growth of bones can limit the space for nerves to pass through, which can put added pressure on bones. Herniated discs can also cause pressure on the sciatic nerve and increase pain.
Should You Get a Chiropractor for Sciatica - 13 Reasons Why
If you are thinking, 'Is a chiropractor good for sciatica?' then here are 13 reasons that will convince you to reach out to a chiropractor right away:
#1. Additional Modalities (Methods)
Chiropractic care is not a single mode of treatment, but it is a combination of different treatments that can help you decrease your Sciatica pain. Here are some of the modalities included in chiropractic care for Sciatica.
The ultrasound machine is used to administer sound waves that will increase blood flow and help ease muscle spasms.
Hydrotherapy involves the usage of water to focus on the muscle and tone it to ease the sciatica pain. This may include different water exercises such as water aerobics and swimming. A chiropractor may keep a hydrotherapy table on the side to help patients with their treatments.
Having the right posture is very important to release pain. Chiropractors work on your posture and help you add efficient ergonomic movements to your treatments. These movements will help you with daily activities and give your spine the support it needs.
Chiropractors may use a cold laser to target the inflammation on your back and reduce sciatica pain.
The Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Device releases small current shocks in your body, and that helps release the spasms in your muscles. It also releases endorphins that help you feel a lot better.
Subluxation is also known as manipulation, where the chiropractor adjusts the spine for sciatica treatment. For this treatment, chiropractors do not use a lot of force and apply gentle pressure so they can manipulate the spine and other joints. This therapy helps put the spine into its original space. The motions can be intimidating but they are pain-free and can provide immediate relief. A chiropractor may use a mechanical traction table for the administration of Subluxation.
Many patients go for massages if they have sciatica pain. Chiropractors also provide massages that are not like a spa massage. The chiropractor massage keeps the human anatomy and spinal health in consideration. It focuses more on the musculoskeletal system rather than the soft tissues. The massage begins with the chiropractor applying pressure on different sore points to help them loosen up. This can be used in the standalone treatment or it can also be a part of the complete treatment package.
Stretching can help strengthen the muscles in your back. Keeping your condition in mind, a chiropractor may give you stretching exercises exclusively for the pain and discomfort you have due to the pressure on the sciatica nerve. Regular stretching can keep your muscles flexible and aid pain levels.
#5. No Drugs
One of the biggest advantages of taking a chiropractor's help with Sciatica is that you don't need to take any drugs. A chiropractor usually does not recommend any painkillers and will provide you with treatment without them.
#6. Can Get to The Root Cause
Unlike medication such as painkillers, chiropractors focus on getting to the root of the problem. They do not just treat the pain; a chiropractor goes to the root of the pain and fixes the problem at the root level. Chiropractors do not promote the usage of medicines as they believe in permanent healing that happens from within.
#7. Covered By Insurance
Many people are concerned about medical expenses when they face sciatica pain. Going for surgery can be very expensive. It may not always be covered by insurance. In this case, patients can opt for chiropractic care. Chiropractic care, in most cases, is covered by insurance. It does not matter what plan you go for, whether Medicare or Medicaid, they are most likely to cover your chiropractic care.
#8. Complete Care Package
Going to the doctor or for alternative therapies will give you a one-track solution. That is not the case with chiropractic care. Here you can get the complete package that includes multiple types of treatments that will help you not just identify the cause of the pain but also nib it in the bud simultaneously.
#9. Permanent Solution
Sciatica has no cure, and since there is no cure, people are often left with options that give them temporary relief from pain. However, chiropractic care provides a permanent solution. It fixes the problem that is causing the pain directly, therefore becoming a permanent solution.
Andre Bang From DC says, "We're trained to work with musculoskeletal concerns, so we can help identify the root cause of your symptoms." This is the reason why chiropractic care can provide a permanent solution.
#10. Customized Assistance
A chiropractor will provide you with care as per your needs. They will consistently ask you during treatment whether it works for you or if they need to change it. This helps patients get the care they need and can be altered as per the amount of pain.
#11. Easy Solution
Getting chiropractic care is not very difficult. Not many tests are involved for you to have before you can get the treatment you need. You can even get pain relief at the very first doctor's appointment.
#12. No Referrals Needed
There are no referrals needed when you go to a chiropractor. You can immediately start getting treatment without any doctor referring you to a chiropractor.
#13. Little to No Risk
Medications and surgeries both have some risks and side effects involved. However, there are no risks when it comes to chiropractic treatment. You will not face any health concerns, and you will also not rely on painkillers to get rid of your sciatica pain. With little to no risks involved, it is a much better option than surgery.
How to Treat Sciatica?
Sciatica has no cure, but different treatments can help reduce the pain. Let's look at all the different treatment options you can choose from.
Medication is the first option for many people. Many people often go for pain relievers such as NSAIDs. These pain medications can temporarily help relieve pain, but they are not a permanent solution, and you must not take them for prolonged periods.
Pain relievers may not always work; in this case, doctors may prescribe medicines like muscle relaxants or other anti-inflammatory medicines. If the pain is severe you can also opt for steroid injections in the sciatic nerve but that is still not a permanent solution.
If nothing else works, people have to resort to surgery. If the sciatica pain continues for more than three months, you may want to discuss surgery. In the surgery, the doctor will remove whatever is putting pressure on the nerve. There are two types of surgeries, Diskectomy and Laminectomy. You can go for the one suggested by the doctor.
Other than medicines and surgery, people with Sciatica also resort to alternative therapies such as acupuncture.
Exercise is a great way for people to reduce inflammation in the sciatic nerve. If you exercise regularly, that will help you reduce the inflammation and ease your pain. However, it is very important not to overwork your muscles as that can increase discomfort. You can talk to the doctor, and they will help you learn the right exercise for your pain. “I usually recommend increased exercise or a sitting/standing desk,” says Dr. Bang.
Patients suffering from Sciatica commonly go for chiropractic care. Chiropractic care comes with different options, as there can be different causes of sciatic pain. It is also important to choose the right kind of chiropractor who specializes in that area of pain and can provide relief.
How Long Will It Take for a Chiropractor to Fix Sciatica?
There are many factors involved in the amount of time it may take for a chiropractor to fix your sciatica pain completely. These factors include the age of the patient, their medical history, and what problems they are facing. Ideally, it may take up to two weeks for the chiropractor to help patients get rid of Sciatica completely.