Acupuncture & Chiropractic for Sciatica Nerve Pain
Our Fairfax chiropractor and licensed acupuncturist can help you recover from your sciatica by providing integrative treatment of acupuncture and chiropractic for the root condition causing the sciatic nerve pain.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition of pain going down the leg from the lower back. Typically, symptoms are only on one side of the body. Certain causes, however, may result in pain on both sides. Lower back pain is sometimes but not always present. Weakness or numbness may occur in various parts of the leg and foot. Irritation of the sciatic nerve typically causes sciatica nerve pain.
Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatica is usually due to a spinal herniated disc or bulging disc pressing on the lumbar or sacral nerve roots. Other problems that may result in sciatica include disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, and pelvic tumors. A major trauma like lifting something that is very heavy can damage the disc. Repetitive micro-trauma over a period of time can also damage the disc. These traumas damage or weaken the cartilage of the outer walls of the disc to varying degrees. As pressure is put onto a disc, the inner material of the disc (nucleus pulposis) is pushed outward. If the cartilage wall that is trying to hold in this nucleus pulposis has been weakened, then the nucleus pulposis can rupture out of its normal space. The result of these traumas can be that the disc will thin out, degenerate, bulge, or herniate.
Sciatica Can Cause Many Painful Symptoms Such As:
- Burning sensations in the lower back, thigh, calf, and/or foot
- Radiating pain from the low back and down the leg
- Numbness and tingling in the thigh, leg, and foot
- Muscle weakness in the affected leg
- Sharp pains when coughing or sneezing
The discs of the spine function both as shock absorbers and spacers to separate the bones of the spine. Thereby the discs allow more space for the spinal nerves to exit from the spinal cord without being “pinched.”
Treatment For Sciatica and Back Pain
Treatment for sciatica is a sophisticated balance of art and science. Proper treatment of pain requires a careful evaluation of the type of cause. Furthermore, optimal treatment requires integrative use of acupuncture, chiropractic, physiotherapies, and myofascial release. All these therapies work together to treat the underlying cause and facilitate recovery from acute or chronic pain.
Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care are effective For Sciatica Pain
Acupuncture For Back Pain Sciatica
Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture not only work to relieve your sciatica nerve pain, but treat the underlying sciatica cause of pain. It is important to find out the type of disharmony and characteristics. Acupuncture is a highly promising and effective treatment for sciatica symptoms. Our Northern Virginia acupuncture clinic provides sciatica relief treatment and also improvement in the disability that often results from sciatica symptoms.
Depending on your individual diagnosis, our chiropractor can help you recover from your sciatica by providing chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care is a particularly effective treatment for most of the above conditions because it optimizes the spinal alignment to remove pressure from the sciatic nerve, thus providing pain relief. In addition, our chiropractor may suggest physiotherapy modalities to provide relief from muscle spasms and to reduce inflammation. Therapeutic exercises can also help, particularly as you strengthen your core muscles to better support spinal alignment. Therapeutic exercises can prevent future sciatica attacks.
Fast Relief For Sciatic Nerve Pain
Acupuncture is very effective to treat the sciatica nerve pain, and chiropractic care is effective to correct the structural cause. By addressing both symptom and cause, Integrative therapies often achieve immediate and long-term success. Furthermore, Integrative therapies often have few or no side effects. Integrative treatment of acupuncture and chiropractic care is excellent for sciatica and herniated discs of mild to moderate severity. When applied properly, they are often very successful to treat sciatica, correct the underlying problem, and restore normal physical functions. Best care for sciatica pain relief is to understand all available options from western, acupuncture, chiropractic, and traditional Chinese medicine, and utilize the most effective modality for each specific condition.
Western Medicine Approach
Sciatica nerve pain may be of sensory type pain or nerve-related pain. For nerve-related or neuropathic pain due to herniated discs, drugs [aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAID) and opioids] offer few benefits. The use of drugs does not change the underlying condition of herniated disc, they only mask the symptom. Most patients are simply told to relax at home, stay confined to bed, and take drugs as needed for pain. If the pain persists, the patients take more and more drugs for pain relief, thereby creating more side effects and complications. If the pain becomes worse, invasive treatment such as surgery is often suggested.
Common Side Effects of Pain Medications
Common side effects of aspirin and NSAID’s include gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, tinnitus, blurred vision, dizziness and headache. Serious side effects of newer NSAID’s, also known as Cox-2 inhibitors include a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke. Side effects of opioid drugs and morphine include dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, rash, difficult urination, and respiratory depression resulting in difficult breathing. Furthermore, long-term use of these drugs may lead to tolerance and addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sciatica nerve pain most commonly occurs when a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spur on the spine, or narrowing of the spine compresses the nerve. This irritates the nerve and causes pain, oftentimes numbness and tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. The main symptom is a shooting pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the leg.
After a medical history and physical exam, your doctor may order imaging tests to evaluate your spine, which will help them determine the cause of your sciatica. The most common imaging tests used to diagnose sciatica are spinal X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans.
Alternating both cold and hot packs may help reduce pain and inflammation. It’s recommended that you use ice for 20 minutes several times per day during the first couple of days, and then try alternating between ice and heat therapy. Then start stretching your lower back gently. Avoid lying in bed for a long time.
Exercise regularly to strengthen your back and core muscles. Maintain good posture when sitting and standing. Lift heavy objects in the proper way by using your knees and keeping your back straight. Eat anti-inflammatory and healthy foods.