Do you suffer from sciatica? Are you wondering what you can do to ease your sciatica pain?

Sciatica affects up to 40% of the population. While many people suffer from sciatica, it’s largely misunderstood. People tend to lump sciatica in with recurring back pain, but it’s different.

This also means that treatment for sciatica pain is different from treatment for regular back pain. To ease sciatica pain, many people turn to a chiropractor.

How can a chiropractor help with sciatica pain? Read on below to find out.

Related: Holistic Chiropractor: Definition, Benefits, and More 

What is Sciatica?

Doctor pointing to a skeleton with pen

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve due to irritation or compression. The sciatic nerve begins at your lower back and stretches down your legs.

Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body, and while the pain can be severe, most sciatica cases result in non-operative treatment plans.

Sciatica Symptoms

If your pain radiates from your lower spine down through your buttocks and into your leg, there’s a very good chance you’re suffering from sciatica.

The severity of pain can vary widely, from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting pain. In some cases, it can feel like an electric shock or jolt. Sciatica pain often feels worse when you sneeze or cough, and prolonged sitting can aggravate your symptoms.

Some sciatica sufferers also experience tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness.

Sciatica Risk Factors

While anyone can develop sciatica, there are certain factors that put you at greater risk. These include:

Age: As you grow older, your spine changes, and you’re more likely to suffer from bone spurs and herniated discs, which can lead to sciatica pain.

Occupation: Jobs that require you to lift and carry heavy loads, twist your back, or drive a vehicle for long periods of time will put you at greater risk for sciatica.

Obesity: Carrying excess weight puts more pressure on your spine, which can lead to spinal changes that trigger sciatica.

Sitting: Sitting for prolonged periods or leading a sedentary lifestyle will put you at greater risk for developing sciatica.

Diabetes: Diabetes affects the way your body processes blood sugar. This can lead to increased nerve damage that causes sciatic pain.

Related: Strategies for Lower Back Pain Relief 

How Can a Chiropractor Help With Sciatica?

Chiropractor stretching patient’s leg as patient lays on a table

In some cases, sciatica pain resolves on its own. In other cases, it’s best to seek medical attention for your sciatic pain.

A chiropractor can help relieve your sciatic pain in a gentle and natural manner. Here are the ways a chiropractor can help:

Diagnosis

Chiropractic care revolves around the concept that restricted movement of the spine can lead to pain and reduced function. If you’re experiencing sciatic pain, your chiropractor will perform a physical exam and review your medical history to determine what’s causing the pain.

They’ll then be able to put together a treatment plan that allows your body to heal itself in a drug-free, non-invasive manner.

Ultrasounds

When most of us think of ultrasounds, we think of detecting pregnancy and images of babies. However, chiropractors also use ultrasound technology to generate vibrations deep into the body’s tissue.

This helps to ease cramping, improve circulation, reduce swelling and muscle spasms, and reduce pain. In some cases, chiropractors may use other modalities to relieve sciatica pain, such as low-level laser therapy.

This type of therapy helps to reduce irritation, swelling, and musculoskeletal pain. Some chiropractors also use a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit. This is a small battery-powered device that increases endorphins, reduces pain, and relaxes muscle spasms.

Acupuncture may also help with sciatica pain. Click here to learn more about acupuncture!

Massage Therapy

Chiropractors also help relieve sciatica pain through massage therapy. The techniques chiropractors use induce the release of endorphins and deep muscle relaxation.

While a regular spa massage may help to relieve some soreness and tension, a chiropractic massage hones in on healing and soothing the sciatic nerve. Because chiropractors have deep knowledge of the body’s musculoskeletal system, they know exactly where to apply pressure to ensure healing.

Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulation, serve as the core chiropractic treatment. During an adjustment, your chiropractor will use their hands or a small instrument to apply controlled force to the spinal joint.

Adjustments help to realign the spine and free it from restricted movement so the body can return to proper alignment. They also help to reduce pain associated with nerve inflammation and ease muscle spasms, allowing for long-term relief.

Hot and Cold Therapy

Heat and cold therapy can offer quick relief for sciatica pain. While heat therapy relieves muscle tightness and dulls pain, cold therapy slows down the flow of blood and decreases inflammation.

You can work with your chiropractor to figure out which treatment is suitable for you and how often to alternate them.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression involves gently stretching the spine to change its position. Changing the position of the spine helps alleviate pressure from the spinal discs by creating negative pressure.

As a result, the herniated or bulged disc retracts, taking pressure off the nerves and other areas of the spine. If you suffer from sciatica pain due to a herniated disc, this can be particularly helpful.

Exercise and Lifestyle Changes

Exercise and lifestyle changes can also make a huge difference for sciatica pain sufferers. Your chiropractor can recommend exercises that not only avoid aggravating sciatic pain, but also help relieve tightness and inflammation.

Often, the exercises involve stretching routines that you can easily do at home. Your chiropractor will also take time to look at all aspects of your life to determine what changes you can make to relieve sciatic pain.

For example, they may recommend that you sit, stand, or sleep in a new position. Or, they may recommend you change your diet.

Related: Easy Substitutes for Unhealthy Foods

Are You Ready to Visit a Chiropractor for Your Sciatica?

As you can see, chiropractors can offer a multitude of treatments to relieve sciatic pain.

With the right chiropractor by your side, you’ll experience sciatic pain relief in no time. Now, all you need to do is find the right chiropractor for your needs.

If you’re looking to see a chiropractor in the Portland, Oregon area, contact us today