Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?
Is Chiropractic an Effective Evidence-Based Care for Sciatica?
Chiropractor for sciatica in Anchorage or Juneau: Sciatica can be debilitating and infuriating. Fortunately, chiropractic care is an evidence-based form of treatment that helps those with sciatica safely and effectively.
Chiropractic adjustments and other related treatments continue to be very effective for sciatica. Misalignments along the spinal column can cause this painful condition in the pelvis or the lower back. But a multi-disciplinary approach can help relieve pain and treat the underlying cause of sciatica.
How Can a Chiropractor Help With Sciatic Nerve Pain?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. And, being a nerve, it’s a part of the central nervous system. The nerve’s roots are located in the lower back, and the nerve itself runs from the lower back, down the back of the leg, and down to the feet. So when this nerve is irritated, it can cause pain not just in the lower back but all the way down the leg, as well.
There are a number of causes for sciatica, including:
- Muscle spasms
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Sleeping on a poor mattress
- Excessive weight
- Lack of exercise
Although there seem like many causes, most of them have the same general effect, whether it’s pinching the nerve, causing inflammation, or irritating the sciatic nerve. So no matter the cause, a chiropractor can help the vast majority of sciatica cases.
Chiropractors use the following techniques and treatments to help sciatica:
- Ice Therapy – This may be used to help reduce the inflammation, helping to heal the condition. Chiropractors combine this with other forms of treatment.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – It is a treatment procedure that uses electrodes to block nerve impulses. The procedure stimulates the secretion of endorphins, which is the body’s natural hormone for relieving pain.
- Spinal Manipulation – The most commonly used form of chiropractic adjustment for sciatica is spinal manipulation. This method is very effective in overcoming restrictive barriers that cause nerve pain. It helps to correct vertebral subluxations and to restore movement.
- Myofascial Release – This is a mild and gentle method of stretching that does a great job of stretching and treating the related muscles. Fascial muscle restrictions, caused by herniated discs can cause pain in the leg.
- Massage Therapy – It is another treatment option, which many doctors of chiropractic will use to manage sciatic nerve pain. Massage stimulates the release of endorphins, helps promote healing, and helps prevent flare ups.
Chiropractor for Sciatica: The Evidence
Now that you know the general treatment options for sciatica, let’s look at some studies that show how effective chiropractic care is for sciatica.
Chiropractic vs. Muscle Relaxants
A randomized clinical trial sought to determine which was better for acute low back pain: chiropractic care or muscle relaxants. Of course, there was also a control group who took a placebo to compare the outcomes of the other two groups. At the end of the study, the authors found that chiropractic care was more effective than muscle relaxants and placebos in reducing the pain of subacute low back pain.
Chiropractic Manipulations for Sciatica Relief
The scientific community considers randomized double-blind clinical trials to be the best studies out there. These studies are the best way people have found so far to get unbiased results. This is why this study is so impactful.
This randomized double-blind clinical trial sought to find out if chiropractic spinal manipulations actually help sciatica. 102 people with sciatica pain received either actual manipulations or simulated manipulations. At the end of the trial, the researchers found that the actual chiropractic manipulations were better for providing pain relief to sciatica sufferers. They also had no serious adverse events, which adds to the evidence that chiropractic care is safe.
Oral Steroids Show No Improvement in Pain
While talking about the treatment of sciatica and the low back pain that often accompanies it, we would be remiss not to mention other possible treatments. Thanks largely to pharmaceutical companies and their constant campaigns to sell drugs, many people with sciatica and low back pain are prescribed medication. And while some medication does provide temporary relief, there are often consequences and side effects that come with this temporary relief.
This study, a randomized clinical trial, sought to evaluate the effects of oral steroids on a herniated disc in the low back. Physicians treating sciatica because of a bulging or herniated disc in the lumbar spine commonly prescribe these kinds of steroids. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence showing that oral steroids help.
The results of this trial are clear: The oral steroids helped slightly to improve function but did nothing for pain compared to the placebo group. Even more concerning, the instances of adverse events were higher among those that received the steroids than those who received the placebo.
Many people who suffer from sciatica are prescribed oral steroids. Unfortunately, as the evidence shows, these drugs do little to help. And sometimes, they seem to make things worse. This is why at our Juneau chiropractic clinic, we stick to natural, drug-free treatments that actually work, as proved by clinical trials and studies.
How Many Treatments for Sciatica With a Chiropractor?
Sciatic pain relief may be achieved after a series of adjustments or treatments. Many patients find significant relief after the first adjustment. This is usually the chosen method if the condition has been presenting itself for some time. However, this offers patients an effective method for pursuing compared to the alternatives (drugs or surgery).
Different doctors of chiropractic may utilize different approaches for treating your condition. This simply means that your treatment plan might differ considerably from one doctor to another. One may add ice bags as one of the solutions while another may only stick with manipulation.
- As far as adjustments are concerned, you should expect to discuss a series of treatments based on the severity of your condition. The first one may include adjustment of your feet, ankles, and knees.
- The second one may be the adjustment of your cervical spine to correct forward head placement. The third one may be the adjustment of your lower back and pelvis to correct any misalignments.
Exact treatments will depend on what you and your chiropractor decide is most fitting for your condition, needs, and schedule.
Communication and Satisfaction
No matter your specific treatment plan, you can expect your chiropractor to communicate clearly with you. You can expect some easy sciatica pain relief tips to perform at home. And most chiropractors will also provide you with nutrition and ergonomic tips to help your relief. Chiropractors are concerned with the body as a whole, instead of just certain aspects of the body.
This is why many patients rate their satisfaction with chiropractic care higher than those who receive treatment by a physician. Chiropractic patients also tend to have more self-efficacy than physician patients. This leads to more effective coping and pain-management tactics, thanks to effective communication from doctors of chiropractic.
Chiropractor for Sciatica During Pregnancy
Sciatica and back pain are very common during pregnancy and the postpartum period. For this reason, many women seek out chiropractic care for pain relief. Chiropractic care is ideal because it offers natural remedies for sciatica during pregnancy. It’s also considered safe for pregnant women to receive chiropractic care.
Spinal manipulation may not be a common part of this treatment during certain periods of the pregnancy, but many other pain-relieving and inflammation-reducing treatments are still used to great effect.
In fact, one study found that chiropractic care for low back pain among pregnant women was incredibly effective and safe. Granted, this was a small study, but it’s just one of many that show how effective chiropractic care is for sciatica and low back pain.
At Better Health, we combine chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physical therapy under one roof. We know that these three modalities complement each other and give our patients the best treatment for their neck pain.
Everyone’s pain is different, so one person may benefit more from regular massage in addition to chiropractic care while another person may benefit more from physical therapy and spinal adjustments. Our doctors tailor each treatment plan to the patient, making sure everyone is getting the best treatment possible at Better Health.
Sciatic Nerve Pain: Chiropractor or Massage?
It’s fairly common knowledge that massage therapy can help relieve sciatic nerve pain. And, clearly, chiropractic care can, as well. So which one should you choose?
I’ll answer this question with a question: Why should you have to choose one or the other? At Better Health, we offer chiropractic care, massage therapy, and physical therapy under one roof. We know how these complementary therapies work together to relieve sciatica pain and a wide range of other issues. So when you have access to them all, it helps treatment and pain relief along quickly, and it saves you time so you don’t have to drive all over town to receive effective treatment.
Chiropractor for Sciatica: Conclusion
There’s plenty of evidence to support seeing an Anchorage or Juneau chiropractor for sciatica. And Better Health has helped thousands of Alaskans in our over 20 years here. Our doctors know when sciatica is improving and when it’s getting worse. We know the best practices for dealing with sciatica in a safe, effective manner.
Perhaps best of all, we never keep our patients waiting for long, and we always guarantee you’ll be satisfied with your first visit — or it’s free!
Contact one of our Anchorage or Juneau chiropractic clinics today for a better way to sciatica relief.
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