Low Back Pain
How Chiropractic Treatments Help Low Back Pain and Sciatica
Low Back Pain
Low back pain is the second most prevalent neurological complaint, second only to headaches in the United States. Low back pain is one of the largest causes of missed work in the U.S. today. In fact, half of all working Americans have reported pain in the lower back within the last year. The most common cause of low back pain is over-use injury (strain/sprain). Heavy lifting is not the only cause of low back pain. The act of bending while turning, such as twisting and bending to pick up a bag of trash, or a pencil from off the floor can cause great distress in the lower back. Although most low back pain can result from injury other causes must be ruled out. Some of these causes are kidney stones, kidney infections, ovarian cysts, cancer, and blood clots.
Acute, sub-acute, and chronic low back injuries:
Over-use injuries may involve the muscles, tendons, ligaments, facet joints and sacroiliac joints. Low back injury can be categorized as acute, sub-acute or chronic. Acute or sudden pain develops quickly and if treated accordingly it usually resolves in a short time. Chronic pain develops slowly and usually takes longer to resolve. Sub-acute is a transitional term referring to an injury that is between acute and chronic. Acute muscle strain or ligament sprain is the most common cause of acute low back pain. Sub-acute pain and chronic low back pain are more often caused by a neurological event such as disc bulge or herniation which can cause nerve entrapment or bone degeneration such as osteoarthritis.
Chiropractic treatment can aid in the recovery of acute, sub-acute and chronic low back injuries:
A gentle chiropractic adjustment can place bones and joints back into in correct alignment allowing the body to heal quicker and the joints to function properly. Chiropractors also us therapeutic modalities that provide pain relief and a decrease of inflammation. It is very important to seek chiropractic treatment early, the sooner you begin treatment the sooner you will feel better.
The sciatic nerve is actually composed of multiple nerve roots and fibers that originate in the low back, run through the buttock and stretch down the leg. When pressure is applied to this nerve and the fibers of the sciatic nerve become compressed, or the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed or irritated, the following symptoms of sciatica may develop:
Pain in the buttock
Pain in the leg (often worse when sitting)
Sensation of burning, tingling, or numbness down the leg
Shooting pain in the leg that makes it uncomfortable to walk
Weakness in the leg and foot
For some people, the symptoms of sciatica will only last a handful of days or weeks because the irritated nerve fibers are able to heal. During an acute episode of sciatica, many people benefit from the use of heat or ice on the affected area.
Sciatica may also be caused by the sciatic nerve becoming entrapped as it passes under or through the piriformis muscle. This may be caused by trauma or repetitive motions (such as cycling, running, driving in the car for long periods, or experiencing a car accident).
Individuals who struggle with reoccurring / chronic sciatica may find relief from massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, gentle stretching, and yoga.
Chiropractic treatment of sciatica:
In the case of sciatica, the goal of chiropractic treatment is to:
Free restricted movement
Restore misaligned vertebrae and pelvic bones to their normal positions
Reduce nerve irritability and inflammation
Decrease muscle spasms
In many cases, chiropractic treatment (in the form of chiropractic manipulations, cryotherapy, and sometimes therapeutic ultrasound) provides noticeable relief. The patient may be asked to use ice or heat, and to perform gentle stretches while at home. The chiropractor may also ask the patient to return for several follow-up treatments in order to correct the cause of sciatic nerve compression.
At times, the chiropractor may choose to coordinate treatment with a physical therapist, massage therapist, or acupuncturist in order to better manage a patient’s care.
Do You Suffer From Sciatica?
If you experience pain or an uncomfortable tingling sensation that begins in your low back and travels into your buttock or radiates down into your leg, you may have one of the symptoms of a condition called sciatica.
Sometimes sciatica can go away on its own through rest, ice, or gentle stretching. But if it interferes with your sleep, flares up several times during the course of a year, or simply won't go away, you should schedule an appointment with your chiropractor.
Our Flagler Beach chiropractor team Dr. Kemp Kirk and Dr. Rachelle Kirk have been providing sciatica relief to patients in Flagler Beach, Palm Coast, Bunnell, and Ormond Beach since 2002.