Hip Pain Doctor Chapel Hill, NC
Sciatica is the term used to describe the symptoms that result from compression of the long sciatic nerve extending from the low back to the leg. Generally affecting one side of the body at a time, sciatica symptoms can be disabling and affect one’s ability to walk, sit and sleep. Numbness and muscle weakness of the leg and hip can accompany the nerve pain. Sciatica can reach all the way down to the feet and affect the hip, knees, and feet as well. Over time, untreated sciatica can affect gait and create postural deviations that can be hard to overcome. Alternative medicine treatments for sciatica such as chiropractic are increasingly used to help many people.
People of all ages can get sciatica. although it is very rare in toddlers and children, and much more common in adults in their fourth decade of life and older. About 40% of people experience sciatica at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common ailments. Sciatica pain can come on suddenly with no warning and is usually caused by performing repetitive activities such as lifting or twisting and pulling. Many people suffering from sciatica visit their chiropractor to get help.
The main cause of damage is compression injury to the sciatic nerve – a nerve bundle arising from the lower lumbar spine segments L3,4, and 5. The nerve bundle travels through the hip under the piriformis muscle, then branches out again in the thigh and leg. Nerve compression can originate in the back at the nerve origin or in the hip under the piriformis. Causes can be herniated disc in the low back putting pressure on the lower lumber nerves as they exit the spine, or vertebral or hip misalignment and inflammation affecting nerve pathway. Piriformis syndrome (compression of the sciatic nerve under the piriformis hip muscle) can mimic sciatica and treatment can be similar. A thorough physical exam as performed by your chiropractic physician or medical doctor can help determine the cause and extent of your back and leg pain. Xrays, CT scans and MRI exams may be used, but are no replacement for a good physical exam and are sometimes inconclusive.
Treatment for this condition depends on the cause. If there is nerve damage or loss of muscle control, this can indicate a surgical emergency. Otherwise, the medical treatment of sciatica frequently involves relaxing involved muscles and controlling pain with medications. Physical therapy may be added when appropriate to improve posture and strengthen and balance weak and tight muscles. Chiropractic care focuses on finding and resolving vertebral irritation and kinetic chain imbalance in order to resolve pain at the source. Treatment involves chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture to the lumbar spine and hips to improve nerve flow, with muscle therapy to the paraspinal muscles, hips, legs, and other involved areas. Treatment can be very effective with most sufferers becoming pain-free in as short as a few weeks.
Chiropractic care for sciatica can be an effective and long-lasting choice. Call a hip pain doctor Chapel Hill, NC trusts today to schedule an appointment and get the help you need.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Acupractic Natural Healing Center for their insight into acupuncture and sciatica.