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Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?

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A man suffering from back pain at home The man is touching his back while sitting on a sofa

Sciatica can develop for several reasons and can cause pain in your back, hips, and legs. No one should have to deal with sciatica on their own, and many patients wonder if a chiropractor can help relieve their pain. 

A chiropractor can help relieve pain from sciatica by providing treatment with the goal of reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve and helping restore movement to your back.

Other forms of pain relief, such as physiotherapy, may also be recommended based on the cause of your sciatica as well as other issues affecting the health of your spine and back. 

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition commonly caused by pressure or pinching on the sciatic nerve as it exits  your spine. The sciatic nerve is one of the body’s longest nerves, running from your spinal cord to the hips, and down your legs. It’s essential for daily movement, but when it’s affected by a problem, it can cause pain that is hard to ignore. 

Sciatica can feel like severe pain in your back, legs, or buttocks and sometimes presents alongside numbness or weakness in the same areas. 

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica can be a symptom of several conditions. Some may develop naturally, while others may occur due to an injury.

Some common causes of sciatica include: 

  • Herniated discs: A herniated disc can occur when the discs in your spine are damaged and push outward to impinge upon on your nerves, which can cause pain, numbness, and weakness.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Spondylolisthesis is a condition where one of your vertebrae moves forward over another, potentially pinching your sciatic nerve. 
  • Piriformis syndrome: Piriformis syndrome is a disorder that can develop when your piriformis muscle (a major muscle near the sciatic nerve) tightens and causes compression on the sciatic nerve. 
  • Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis can occur when the natural spaces in your spine narrow and compress your spinal cord, which can put pressure on your sciatic nerve. 

A female Chiropractor  is massaging the back of a female patient

Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica? 

Sciatica can be relieved with treatments and adjustments meant to help improve back and core strength as well as joint and muscle mobility, thus releasing tension on the sciatic nerve. Your chiropractor may not be able to fix sciatica in a single treatment session, but they can help relieve pain and reduce pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Are Chiropractic Treatments Safe?

If you’ve never visited a chiropractor before, you may have some questions about the safety of the procedure and your risks. 

Overall, chiropractic treatments are considered safe. As with many treatments and procedures, there are some situations that can increase your risk of complications. During your visit, we can answer all your questions and help you make a decision about whether chiropractic care is right for you.  

Preexisting health conditions can increase the risks associated with chiropractic treatments, so you may find it helpful to visit your family doctor before you book an appointment. They can explain the possible risks associated with the spinal adjustments necessary to relieve sciatica. While the risks may be minimal, it’s better to be safe when it comes to your health.

A 2017 research review analyzed over 200 studies on the risks of chiropractic adjustment. The results of this research led to 3 overall conclusions regarding chiropractic adjustments: 

  • Mild side effects like discomfort, stiffness, or headaches are possible but tend to improve within 24 hours.
  • Someone may be at greater risk of experiencing complications if they have an underlying medical problem.
  • Severe problems like a stroke, spinal problems, or neurological issues are possible but rare.

How Else Can You Relieve Sciatica Pain?

If chiropractic care isn’t right for your needs, you can still improve sciatica with help from the  trusted healthcare professionals here at Running Shoe Restorative Healthcare. They can recommend the treatment they feel can relieve sciatica pain based on your health. 

Some of the other methods for addressing sciatica pain include:

  • Stretching: Stretching your hips and hamstrings can help loosen the affected areas and reduce sciatica pain.
  • Heat: Heat from a shower or a heating pad can help reduce pain by improving blood flow to the treated area.
  • Ice: Ice (for up to 20 minutes at a time) can help treat pain by reducing inflammation and swelling in your muscles.
  • Yoga: Yoga can improve strength and flexibility, which can help treat sciatica pain. 
  • Regular movement: Sitting for long periods can worsen sciatica—getting up and moving during your workday can help reduce pain.
  • Improving back strength: Strengthening your back and core can help provide more support for your spine and reduce sciatica pain.
  • Massage therapy: Massage therapy can help loosen muscles and reduce pain in your back.
  • Acupuncture: Some patients can benefit from acupuncture to reduce pain in specific areas of the body.

Relieve Your Back Pain

You don’t need to live with sciatica—your chiropractor is here to help. We can help relieve your pain with adjustments and recommend different ways to strengthen your body and manage sciatica. Contact Running Shoe Restorative Healthcare to learn more about how we can help and what we recommend for sciatica relief.

Written by Shaheeza Haji

Shaheeza Haji graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 2009, followed by a Master of Physiotherapy from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Being a staunch believer in “exercise is medicine” she attained her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist status though the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2013. At the end of that same year, Shaheeza was involved in a major life-altering electrocution incident whereby she sustained a number of injuries which required surgery and years of rehabilitation. One of these injuries was a traumatic brain injury; it is thought that the electrical current exploded within the confined space of her skull, which for lack of better terminology was coined by her medical team as an “electrical concussion.” This lead to her becoming certified in the treatment and management of Concussions in 2018. Also in 2018, Shaheeza began instructing at CDI college, heading up the Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant Diploma Program. Today, Shaheeza combines her love of teaching, her passion of concussion research, and the empathy & experience from her own injury to help those with acute and chronic concussions. Shaheeza also has a drive for entrepreneurship, being the CEO of Running Shoe Inc., directing both Running Shoe Restorative Healthcare and the Calgary Concussion Centre.
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