The sciatic nerves are the largest and longest nerves of the body, reaching about the size of your thumb in diameter, and running down the back of each leg. When these nerves are irritated or affected by the inflammation of nearby soft tissues, doctors refer to this as sciatica.
One of the most common causes of sciatic leg pain is the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. It can be accompanied by the bulging or herniation of the soft pulpy discs which separate each spinal bone. This can irritate or put pressure on the sciatic nerve roots as they leave the spinal cord. The result can be pain, numbness, tingling, or lack of normal muscle contraction down either or both legs.
In the past, treatment has involved pain medications, muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and even surgery. The chiropractic approach is to use high precision chiropractic adjustments to remove interference from spinal structures, as well as hip, knee, ankle, and foot. These chiropractic adjustments can be quite effective in reducing nerve irritation and its associated symptoms.
Sciatica, like other health problems that can be traced to the spine, often responds dramatically to the restoration of normal spinal function through conservative chiropractic care. While it can take time, chiropractic care can be quite successful in removing the cause of sciatica and low back pain. Research shows that when treated with conservative chiropractic care, sciatica has an 8-9% greater rate of recovery than if patients were to use physical therapy or standard medical care.
Straight Leg Raise, which stretches the sciatic nerve, is one of the tests we use to determine sciatic nerve involvement and possible lumbar disc irritation.