A pinched nerve can affect any nerve in the body and occurs when the nerve has too much pressure placed on it by any of the surrounding tissues, which could include cartilage, bones, tendons, or muscles. The sciatic nerve is a very important nerve in the lower back that runs down either one or both legs. In the event that this nerve becomes pinched or trapped, you will begin to suffer from sciatica, which is oftentimes very painful and bothersome until you obtain some form of treatment. When you’re searching for the right treatment option for a trapped nerve or sciatica, the two types of health care providers who are typically recommended for the treatment of these issues include a chiropractor and an osteopath, both of whom can help ease your pain and heal the condition that you’re suffering from.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that affects the nerves in the lower back, which can cause you to experience back pain. This condition will occur when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, which can happen for any number of reasons. Since there are so many different causes of sciatica, the back pain that you experience could be a temporary flare-up following an injury or a kind of pain that develops slowly over a lengthy period of time. The pain that you experience could also be either acute or chronic, the latter of which means that the pain will last for at least three months or longer. Some chronic cases of sciatica may not be able to be fully healed. However, even chronic cases of sciatica can be effectively treated by chiropractors or osteopaths in a manner that will at least reduce the amount of pain you experience.
In most scenarios, sciatica will start with the development of a herniated disc in the lower portion of the spine. When a disc becomes worn down due to injury or overuse through the years, the centre of the disc will push outwards, which creates pressure on the surrounding nerves and can lead to the development of a pinched or trapped nerve. While any nerve in the back can be damaged from a herniated disc, the sciatic nerve is among the most important for the overall function of your body.
The sciatic nerve is the lengthiest nerve in the body. It starts in the lower back and extends down to the feet on both legs. If you develop sciatica, the pain that you experience will almost certainly radiate to your legs and feet. No matter what causes you to experience sciatica, the pain can be either mild to severe in intensity. Some of the other symptoms that you might experience when your sciatic nerve has been pinched include tingling, numbness, and a weakness in a foot or leg. The pain that you experience from sciatica may worsen if you don’t exercise regularly, if you’re overweight, or if you wear high heels.
The causes of sciatica are numerous. While the main cause is the development of a herniated disc, anything that pinches the sciatic nerve can cause this condition to occur. Aside from a herniated disc, bone spurs commonly lead to this condition as well. A bone spur is a kind of growth that can occur on the edge of a bone. While these growths can develop in many areas of the body, they may be harmful when they occur along the spine. A few additional causes that might bring about sciatica include degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, pregnancy, and muscle spasms that occur in the butt or back.
How a Chiropractor Can Assist With Your Case of Sciatica
When you schedule an appointment with a chiropractor, you’ll discover that they pay careful attention to the structure and function of the spine as well as its effects on the neurological and musculoskeletal systems. A chiropractor also aims to understand how the proper function of the neurological and musculoskeletal systems are able to restore the health of a patient, which will be reflected in the treatment you receive. Chiropractors firmly believe that a person’s body will begin to heal itself if the function and structure of the systems are fixed.
Chiropractic medicine focuses on improving the lower back pain that you’re experiencing by addressing the dysfunction in the lower spine. The cause of your case of sciatica will dictate the type of treatments you’re provided with. In severe cases of a herniated disc or similar condition, the cause will need to be treated and remedied before chiropractic care can begin. The main form of treatment involves chiropractic adjustments that aim to improve the health of your spine and the position of the vertebra. Along with the reduction in pain that you experience with this treatment, you should also benefit from better joint mobility and an improved range of motion.
The various types of chiropractic techniques that might be applied to the area surrounding the sciatic nerve include motion palpation, release work, and instrument adjustments. You’ll also learn how to perform various stretches that are designed to relieve your pain. Along with stretching, a light exercise regimen will likely be recommended to ensure that your range of motion doesn’t worsen too much while you treat your case of sciatica. If you’re suffering from radiating pain that extends to your legs and feet, this pain should also be relieved with chiropractic care.
Keep in mind that each individual patient receives a treatment plan that’s tailored to their exact needs. For instance, a standard treatment plan may include ice/cold therapy, spinal adjustments, nerve stimulation, and heat therapy via an ultrasound. The ice and cold therapy that you might be provided with is designed to reduce the inflammation that you’re experiencing, which should start to lessen your pain. As for the spinal adjustments, some of the benefits that you could receive with this technique include reduced nerve irritation and reduced muscle spasms.
If nerve stimulation is recommended as a part of your treatment, the stimulation will be provided via a portable and battery-powered muscle stimulating machine. The electrical current that’s applied to the lower back should control your acute pain and lessen the frequency and intensity of your muscle spasms. The heat therapy that’s administered with an ultrasound is able to reach deeper into the soft tissues around the sciatic nerve, which increases circulation in the surrounding area. Circulation improvements result in a reduction of cramping, stiffness, pain, swelling, and muscle spasms.
How an Osteopath Can Help Ease Your Sciatica Symptoms
Osteopathy is a kind of alternative medicine that’s similar to chiropractic care in that it primarily involves the physical manipulation of bones and muscle tissue. Any kind of a specialist can be an osteopathic doctor, which isn’t the case with chiropractors. Osteopathic doctors firmly believe that the best way to relieve pain and other symptoms is by treating the body as a unified whole and improving the health of many components within the body, which should help to foster self-healing processes.
When you suffer from sciatica or a trapped nerve, the types of treatments that could be administered to you by an osteopath are highly varied. Before you’re provided with a treatment, the osteopath will conduct an extensive case history to determine if your case of sciatica is being caused by a previous injury, a past surgery, or emotional stress. The area surrounding the sciatic nerve or trapped nerve will then be examined to determine the exact location of the tension and pain. The goal of osteopathic treatment is to reduce or relieve the pain you’re experiencing so that you can obtain better function and movement throughout your body.
Keep in mind that osteopathic treatment has proven to be effective for the relief of acute pain, severe pain, and chronic pain. The treatments that may be included in your treatment plan by an osteopath include soft-tissue mobilisation via rhythmic stretching, myofascial therapy, massage therapy, and counter-strain treatments. When you’re trying to decide which of these two healthcare providers is right for you, it’s important to understand that both providers should be able to get rid of the pain that you’re going through because of a trapped nerve or sciatica. If your pain is less severe and is positioned primarily in the back, a chiropractor should be able to provide you with the treatment you need to relieve your pain. If the condition that has caused your sciatica or a trapped nerve in your back or neck requires medication and more aggressive treatment options, you might want to schedule an appointment with an osteopath.
Self-Help Tips to Reduce Your Sciatic Symptoms
If you’ve developed sudden and sharp pain somewhere in your back or neck, it’s possible that you’re suffering from a trapped nerve or sciatica. In many cases, a pinched or trapped nerve is caused by a sudden and awkward movement, which means that the pain may dissipate on its own. The first thing you need to do when experiencing this type of pain is to simply wait for a week or two. During this time, make sure that you move your neck or back in the same manner as you usually do. If you stop moving the neck or back while suffering from this type of injury, the pain may only worsen. During this time, you might also want to think about taking some over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin. Make sure that you never exceed the recommended dosage.
If you eventually need to see an osteopath of chiropractor, you’ll likely be provided with some cold therapy. In the meantime, you can apply cold therapy on your own, which should hopefully reduce some of the pain that you’re going through. Cold therapy is considered to be very effective for the treatment of any injury to the musculoskeletal system, which includes neck injuries. When you apply a pack of ice or some form of cold compress, it’s important that you place it directly on the most sensitive area, which should help you reduce any swelling and inflammation. While cold is highly beneficial for treating pain, heat is as well, which is why you should consider taking an Epsom salt bath. The magnesium that’s found in the salt will relax your muscles. However, it’s important that you don’t stay in the bath for more than 30 minutes.
While you may need to see an osteopath or chiropractor to learn how to properly perform certain stretches in your back or neck, you can attempt to apply some gentle stretches to your daily exercise routine. Stretching is a great way to enhance your range of motion as well as the flexibility of your spine. Most neck and back stretches are also very simple, which means that there’s only a small chance that you could worsen the pain. Once you’ve attempted these self-help tips, you should begin to experience relief from the symptoms that you’re going through. If the pain doesn’t dissipate or significantly reduce, it’s important that you know when to seek a chiropractor or osteopath.
In the event that your pain doesn’t go away after a period of two weeks, you may want to get the issue checked out. The same is true if your pain worsens or you experience severe pain in your legs or lower back. You should also seek treatment if you begin to experience symptoms that are related to nerve injuries, which include numbness, weakness, and tingling. By taking the right approach to treatment, your symptoms should improve substantially.
- Osteopathy FAQs
- Pudendal Neuralgia (Pelvis Nerve Pain) Symptoms & Treatment
- Active recovery from chronic back pain and how to help!
- Managing your Back Pain
- How To Relieve Pain From a Trapped (Pinched) Nerve