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Lumbar radiculopathy (Sciatica) is a condition that generally ensues as a result of irritation of a spinal nerve, most commonly the sciatic nerve.
Since the sciatic nerve originates in the lower back and travels down the posterior part of each leg, lumbar radiculopathy is the common underlying issue in cases of low back pain. The symptoms of lumbar radiculopathy only manifest on one side of the body in most patients, and include steady lower back pain, shooting pain signals down the buttock and leg, tingling, weakness and numbness. Loss of sensation and function occurs in more severe, advanced cases.
This collection of symptoms is commonly referred to as sciatic nerve pain.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a painful condition that develops when one or both branches of the sciatic nerve. The nerve that extends from your lower back down each leg to your feet becomes compressed pinched or irritated. Pinched nerves can also cause issues. It can develop as a result of spinal diseases or as a side effect of herniated discs, repetitive motion injuries or poor lifting technique. It can also occur from poor posture or an unsupportive mattress. Sciatica can develop in people who stand or sit for long periods of time each day which is related to spinal stenosis. Another similar condition is piriformis syndrome and nerve damage issues.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sciatica?
Sciatica symptoms tend to be easily recognizable, and usually include:
pain or dull aching in the lower back
pain or aching in the buttocks
pain or aching that extends down the leg
numbness, weakness or tingling extending down the leg
pain when standing or sitting
Symptoms can vary from one person to the next, and not every patient will experience the same intensity of symptoms. Sometimes, other spine related conditions can cause similar symptoms, and having a physical exam and evaluation of symptoms is essential to determining if the cause is sciatica or another condition such as a slipped disc.
How Does Chiropractic Relieve The Symptoms Of Sciatica?
Chiropractic is aimed at helping the body heal itself by releasing impingements and compression in the spine that can cause symptoms to occur throughout the body.
In sciatica, chiropractic treatment will depend in part on the cause of the nerve irritation and impingement, focusing on treating the underlying causes with techniques like chiropractic adjustments to relieve pressures and help the spine return to proper alignment, ice and heat therapy, gentle stretching and exercise techniques, and ultrasound. Before any type of relief treatment is applied, our team will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your spine and discuss your symptoms to determine the types of therapy that would be most beneficial in relieving the symptoms you are experiencing.
What can I do to prevent sciatica?
Sciatica is more likely to occur when sitting or standing for long periods of time or as a result of repetitive motions like bending, twisting or lifting. It can also occur from sleeping on a broken or damaged mattress and carrying uneven loads that result in unequal distribution of weight.
A cure can be as simple as practicing good posture, taking breaks when standing or sitting for long periods of time, wearing supportive shoes and investing in a good mattress can help prevent sciatica, and so can losing weight and remaining physically active.
Having regular chiropractic evaluations and spinal adjustments is also critical for maintaining proper spinal alignment and avoiding mild issues from progressing to painful problems.
How Long Does The Treatment For Sciatica Last?
The duration of treatment for sciatica depends on how severe your case is and how well your body responds to treatments. Expect treatment to last at the bare minimum for several weeks.
Most people in Salinas have ongoing treatments for several weeks and then again as flare ups occur. If you have lifestyle options as part of your treatment plan, those can continue indefinitely. Also, expect that your treatment plan will change. As you grow stronger, different exercises will be more effective. As your pain decreases, new stretches and exercises will make your progress go faster.