Sciatica…a True Pain in the Butt!

Sciatica…a True Pain in the Butt!

As the holidays are now in full swing with Thanksgiving passing, many Chicagoans are traveling to visit family and/or friends and sitting will often be 1 of the constants you encounter during this time.  It is important to continue to exercise, stretch, and stay during the holiday time because of the various events that are likely returning (work/holiday parties).  Otherwise, the possibility of developing sciatica is 1 of many injuries that could occur.  This post will address what sciatica is and how you can treat it should you begin to develop/suffer these symptoms.

Sciatica, or compression of the sciatic nerve, generally occurs from either a spinal disc becoming compressed, or a muscle compressing the sciatic nerve.  The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and it is most commonly compressed at either the spinal levels of L4, L5, or in the buttock.  When this compression occurs, it often occurs due to overuse and repetitive movement.  Symptoms include, but are not limited to, numbness, tingling, radiating pain into the buttock and at least to the back of one’s knee (or even further to the lower leg and foot), pins & needles sensations, and weakness when performing daily activities (ie walking).  Sitting (at the computer/while driving), bending forward, and transition movements (sitting->standing or laying down->sitting) can aggravate one’s symptoms.

Sciatica nerve treatment lincoln park

Aside from sciatica and its symptoms, there are a few different ways to treat this.  First, one needs to discover the origin of the pain and symptoms through a proper physical exam, consultation, and/or imaging (MRI if one decides to get one).  Sports chiropractors can treat sciatica from either location, but Active Release Technique (ART) chiropractors are suited to treat sciatica originating from the buttock/hip better.  They can loosen up the muscles by breaking scar tissue in these muscles that the sciatic nerve supplies (most commonly is the piriformis muscle). Also, manipulation to the lower back, pelvis, and hips helps symptoms to improve alignment, improve movement of the affected area(s), and reduce inflammation.  Lastly, corrective/rehabilitative exercises are a critical part of the healing process because one needs to learn to engage and activate both one’s core and gluteal muscles (because they are often weak and inhibited, which can contribute to sciatica developing).  Additionally, mobilizing and increasing flexibility through one’s hips and lower back are vital components of a proper rehab program.

If the chiropractor you are seeing is not addressing these issues despite some pain relief,  one may want to consider finding a different one to get hopefully, more efficient results.  These items will provide you the tools to find success and receive the help you seek for your injury.  It may take time to achieve results based on how long you have experienced sciatica, but if you remain diligent in performing one’s exercises and treatment recommendations, you should see progress and elimination of your symptoms not requiring further intervention (ie surgery). Happy holidays!

Brian Marion, DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP

2202 N. Lincoln Ave Suite 1 Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 248-2790

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