If you’ve experienced sciatic pain, then you know how important it is to find relief! Sciatica can range from discomfort in the back, buttocks, and legs to excruciating pain radiating from the lower back to the toes.
While oftentimes sciatica can be treated at home with exercise and heat therapy, the root cause of the problem may continue to go untreated. In fact, many suffers of sciatic nerve pain find that issues reoccur, return, or even worsen overtime.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica neuralgia, more commonly known as sciatica, is a painful condition that impacts as many as 40% of people during their lifetime. Sciatica causes aching and/or burning symptoms that occur in the lower back region, glutes, and the legs. In extreme cases, sciatica pain may also radiate through the legs and toes.
Oftentimes, sciatic pain radiates through one side of the body. However, there are occasions where both legs are impacted. Symptoms vary case by case as the pinched nerve can respond differently in location and severity.
What Causes Sciatica?
The root cause of sciatica can often be found in one of three issues with the spine. First, you may be suffering from a bulging lower back disc. This disc puts immense pressure on your spinal nerves that results in inflammation and pain.
Another issue that could be causing your pain is when the piriformis (a muscle in your glutes connecting the upper leg with the sacrum) pinches your spinal nerve.
Spinal stenosis is the third possible issue. This is the growth of bone spurs on the spine that put pressure on the nerves. The continual pressure inflames the nerves and triggers intense sciatic pain.
The Upper Back and Sciatic Pain
While the pain you’re experiencing from the sciatic nerve is generally localized to the lower back and body, the issue may stem from problems with the upper spine. Tight back muscles, bulging discs, and other spinal issues may have been induced due to car accidents or trauma of the back, sports injuries, poor posture, and other events impacting the upper back and neck.
Sciatica’s Impact on your Daily Life
Sciatic pain can greatly impact your daily life. Not only is it uncomfortable, it can also become debilitating and prohibit you from doing the things you love in life.
Sciatica can also change the way you move. It is very typical for sciatic pain to specifically target one particular side of your body, impacting one leg. Your natural response to this pain may be to adapt and adjust the way that you walk in order to relieve pain and continue life as normally as possible. Unfortunately, this is not a long-term solution to pain and can result in the development of a limp or antalgic gait. This occurs when you adjust your stride length on the leg that is most impacted by your pain.
Sciatica treatment and pain relief is limited to defensive options. These typically include hot and cold therapy, medication, and surgery. Medications include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication, and anticonvulsants such as Gabapentin. Surgery for sciatica can be noninvasive and boasts that most patients are walking the next day with full recovery expected in 2-4 weeks. However, studies also suggest that the long-term impact of surgery verses non-surgical options are very similar in effectiveness.
A Drug-Free, Surgery-Free Option
A proactive sciatic pain solution growing in popularity today is Upper Cervical Care. Rather than masking pain through medications and therapy, upper cervical care seeks the root cause of the issue.
The goal of upper cervical care is to allow the body to heal from the underlying cause(s) of sciatica. The process involves focusing on the spine and neck to correct misalignments, reducing and eliminating pain.
While it may seem counterintuitive to adjust the top of the spine for lower body issues, the Atlas (C1) impacts the health and efficiencies of the entire spinal column. The Atlas is responsible for balancing the head, which weighs roughly 10-12 pounds. When the Atlas shifts or tilts, the body will compensate to maintain the balance of the head. This can impact the entire body
Re-alignment and correction of the spine can also correct pelvic placement. Pelvic distortion is often associated directly with sciatic nerve pain, as a twist or tilt will put pressure on the sciatic nerve resulting in pain, spasms, and inflammation. When the upper neck is corrected, the hips no longer need to tilt or twist in order to put the head back into balance.
By combining a upper cervical care plan with exercises designed to strengthen and flex the spine, sciatica suffers have found natural and lasting relief.
If you or a loved one is suffering from sciatica, learn more about your pain relief solutions. Medications and surgeries are not the only options available. Discuss the benefits of upper cervical care and determine the next steps in proactively relieving pain and solving the root issue of your sciatic pain.