One of the most common and misunderstood conditions I come in contact with in my office is sciatic pain or sciatica. Many clients enter the office with a primary complaint of sciatic pain. However, often times these individuals misunderstand what sciatic pain truly is.
The sciatic nerve originates in the lower part of the lumbar spine, exits through the pelvis and travels down the back of the thigh. It will innervate the calf and the foot.
True sciatica is characterized by pain the lower back with associated pain, numbness, tingling or weakness down the back of the thigh, calf and/or foot.
A thorough examination should be performed to analyze the patient for muscle weakness, changes in reflexes and changes in sensation.
Many individuals will present with pain in the front or side of the thigh and identify their condition as sciatica. This is not the case. These cases have different clinical presentations, different pain origins, and different courses of treatment. True sciatica is diagnosed through patient presentation, examination and in some cases imaging such as X-ray or MRI.
So What Can be Done About Sciatic Pain?
If you’re looking for a sciatica chiropractor in Ann Arbor, you will be happy to know that we treat patients with sciatic pain every day at Precision Chiropractic & Massage Center.
We focus on making structural corrections to the spine and pelvis. What does this mean? In many individuals, over time the vertebrae and pelvis shift. This shift may occur in a number of directions.
You may have actually observed such a shift in another individual. For instance, have you ever seen a person with one shoulder that sits higher than the other? This would be an example of a structural shift. In our office, we analyze the spine for these shifts, both large and very small.
When the structure of the spine shifts, pressure is placed on surrounding nerves in the area. When pressure exists on a nerve, the result is pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and a number of other symptoms.
The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in the body, both in terms of diameter and length. Consequently, it is one of the easiest nerves to irritate. Correcting structural shifts and aligning the spine is one of the best methods to relieve patients of sciatic pain.
Additionally, we focus on muscles surrounding the spine and pelvis that contribute to sciatic pain. Here’s a brief video demonstrating exercises and stretches you can do at home to help relieve sciatic pain:
One muscle in particular, known as the piriformis muscle, exists very close to the sciatic nerve in the pelvis. When a muscle gets tight, it shortens and widens. Due to this muscle’s proximity to the sciatic nerve, it can put pressure on the nerve and cause the symptoms of sciatic pain.
In our office, we not only focus on correcting spinal alignment, but also assess the patient for any muscular issues that are contributing to their condition. When such an issue exists, we suggest exercises to stretch the muscle and in many cases utilize our talented massage therapists to assist with treating the muscle.