Sciatica & Leg Pain
Common Sciatica & Leg Pain complaints that chiropractors treat include:
Disc Herniation (“Slipped Disc”) | Piriformis Syndrome | Peripheral Nerve Entrapments | Sacroiliac Joint Pain | Muscle Trigger Point Referral | Facet Joint Dysfunction
Pain radiating from the low back, through the buttocks and into the legs is commonly referred to as being ‘sciatic’. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and courses down into each leg to supply many of the tissues (specifically, it controls the muscles of the lower leg and back of the knee and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot). Therefore if the nerve is inflamed or compressed it can lead to the pain, weakness or numbness that typically affect sciatica sufferers.
The structures involved may be overly taut muscles, damaged intervertebral discs, arthritic joints and numerous other causes. Sciatic-type pain can also be mimicked by many structures within the lumbar spine (low back), resulting in referred pain down into the buttocks or legs. It is therefore important to accurately diagnose the source of the pain in order to specifically tailor the treatment.
Recent research showed good evidence for the use of chiropractic in the treatment of the most common cause of sciatica – a herniated disc. This showed that joint manipulation (one of the techniques used at our clinic) was as effective as surgery in treating chronic sciatic pain previously resistant to other treatment types (physiotherapy and GP care).
SYMPTOMS IN MORE DETAIL:
Pain: When sharp indicates inflammation, possibly of a tendon, bursa or ligament.
Ache: Commonly associated with muscular problems including tightness or overuse.
Restriction: If the joint(s) fail to move, compensatory strain is placed on the rest of the area. Restoring good mechanical function is important for the injury to heal.
Weakness: This can occur secondary to pain, trauma or nerve damage. It is often a more involved symptom and needs to be fully examined to determine the cause.
Swelling: This will often occur after a trauma, most commonly after a sprain of the area.
Peripheral Nerve Entrapments
Peripheral nerve entrapment occurs when a nerve suffers from chronic compression along its normal anatomical course. This can occur at various points through the leg commonly around the groin, and at the side of the knee.
Muscle Trigger Point Referral
Active trigger points in the lower back and gluteal muscles are areas in muscle which have become contracted which can also refer pain down the leg in a similar way to that of sciatica.