Think You Have Sciatica? Here's a Helpful Guide

Posted in Thoracic and Ribs on Oct 9, 2022

Sciatica is a very common cause of pain in the lower back. It could be brought on by different things, such as bulging or herniated disks, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. It is uncomfortable and can make it difficult for you to function normally during the day. This article gives an overview of what sciatica is, how you can tell if you have it, and the best upper cervical care in Sarasota to address it naturally to avoid any permanent consequences.

What is sciatica?

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It is a condition in the lower back due to the sciatic nerve getting compressed and inflamed. The sciatic nerve – also called the large sciatic or great sciatic nerve – is the longest and widest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower part of your back down to each leg to the foot and toes.

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When you have pinched nerves in your low back (lumbar spine), it's usually because of a herniated disc. This means that part of an intervertebral disc has punctured through its outer covering and is pressing on nearby nerves or spinal cord tissue.

Herniated discs generally come from spinal trauma related to falls, injuries, or car accidents. Other causes may include normal wear-and-tear over time, osteoarthritis (degeneration), overweight/obesity, repetitive motion injuries like excessive lifting, and shoulder rotator cuff tears.

The pain of sciatica can range from mild to excruciating. It causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg and foot. Numbness may start at the top of the thigh and travel down to your toes. If you experience numbness and weakness in that part, it may be because one of your discs is pressing on a nerve root called radiculopathy that travels down to your leg's sciatic nerve.

Who are at risk of low back pain?

Several risk factors can increase a person's chances of suffering from sciatica. These include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a bad posture (for example, slouching while sitting)
  • Sitting for long periods in breaks or getting up and moving around
  • Having a herniated disc in your spine (also known as a "slipped" or "ruptured" disc)

If you have these risk factors, you will likely be more susceptible to low back pain caused by sciatica than someone who does not. You should reach out to a doctor for diagnosis and advice on the best available upper cervical care in Sarasota that is at your disposal.

It's also a good idea to seek help or diagnosis if you spot any of the following sciatica symptoms:

  • Pain in your lower back that worsens with movement and is worse at night or when lying on your back
  • Pain that travels from your leg to the feet or toes
  • Pain that worsens with your sitting for long periods and is improved by standing up or lying down

How to know if you are a candidate for sciatica

Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when determining whether or not you are a candidate for sciatica.

#1. Do I have recurring back pain?

If so, then this is definitely an indication that you may be at risk. In fact, research shows that one out of every four patients with chronic low back pain will later develop sciatica.

#2. Do I have a family history of sciatica?

If so, it's important to note that your risk increases even more because your genetic predisposition allows the pain to become more severe and last longer than in other patients. Ask your parents if they have sciatica or check other distant relatives. This can help you plan your back pain care plan and make necessary lifestyle adjustments to lower your risks of aggravating your condition.

#3. Do I have a history of being overweight or obese?

Being overweight increases your risk for sciatica because it can cause additional stress on your lower back. Additionally, having too much fat around your waistline may increase the likelihood of developing diabetes, another risk factor for sciatica.

#4. Do I have a history of smoking or using tobacco products?

Research shows that smoking dramatically increases your risk for low back pains or sciatica by as much as twofold. This is because smoking causes inflammation in the body which can lead to nerve compression and irritation.

#5. Does my low back pain get worse and spread to other body parts?

If the pain worsens, it will likely spread down your leg and your foot. This constant and progressive worsening of symptoms is a crucial sign that you may have sciatica, so take notice if this happens to you.

#6. Am I having trouble walking and standing straight?

Sciatica pain or any low back pain can make walking, standing, and sitting difficult. In fact, there are cases where one may even have to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around. If this is your case, you must see a medical professional as soon as possible so they can give you the guidance and most effective upper cervical care in Sarasota that'll allow you to return to normal activity levels.

Natural Forms of Upper Cervical Care in Sarasota

Natural sciatica pain relief is the best way to help your body heal. If you are suffering from this debilitating condition and are looking for a way to ease your pain, here are some of the best natural sciatica treatments:

  • Massage therapy - This can be incredibly helpful in easing tension and reducing pain caused by sciatica. A massage therapist will be able to apply deep pressure on affected muscles, which can loosen them up and reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Acupuncture – It is an effective natural way of managing muscle and body pains, including those that result from sciatica. Acupuncture works by stimulating endorphins (the body's natural "feel good" chemicals) while relieving stress on the nervous system, which contributes significantly toward relieving sciatica.
  • Cupping therapy – This technique involves using glass cups filled with heated air placed over specific points on your body to relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Upper cervical chiropractic – This chiropractic protocol is promising for patients with sciatica and can help them live without the frustration and pain caused by sciatica. It focuses on realigning the neck bones, so your spinal column's overall integrity and structure improve. It can also help remove the pressure on your irritated sciatic nerve.

Lavender Family Chiropractic – Your Source of Low Back Pain Relief

Upper cervical chiropractic care may be a great option if you suffer from sciatica or low back pain. Chiropractic care can help relieve back pain, improve your overall health and get you on the path to a better quality of life. 

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