If you are looking for relief from sciatica near Springfield, IL, look
no further. The chiropractors or Doctor of Chiropractic (DCs) at Capitol
Chiropractic Health Center are experts at diagnosing, managing, and
curing nearly all causes of sciatica.
At Capitol Chiropractic Health Center, we treat pain starting in the back or buttock accompanied by pain in the thigh, leg, and/or foot very frequently. This is called sciatica and is caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Five nerves from the lower back (spine) join together to form the sciatic nerve as it travels into the buttock and thigh then these nerves split into many branches that travel down the leg to the toes and allow for communication to and from the brain. When there is pressure or irritation, the communication is distorted, and sciatica begins.
The most common complaint we see with sciatica is pain that travels down the leg, but symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning, and/or weakness from the hip to the toes are also common. These symptoms often make simple daily tasks very difficult. We understand this and are here to help you. Sciatica is most often caused by poor posture (often prolonged sitting), injuries, or repetitive stress (manual labor). In most cases, sciatica stems from misalignment of the spine and muscular tension pressing on nerves. In some cases, the discs in the spine press on the nerves. Disc injuries tend to take longer to heal than those relating to muscular and alignment problems.
How We Treat Sciatica in Springfield, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
All new patients at Capitol Chiropractic Health Center receive a comprehensive consultation and evaluation. Our doctors will go over the history of your condition so we can understand how it started and help determine the cause. We will take the time to listen to you and discover how it effects your life. This will help is determine how to track your progress. After the consultation, our doctors will perform a comprehensive exam that includes range of motion, orthopedic testing, and neurologic testing. This is all done to pinpoint the root cause of the sciatica. Once the cause of the problem is determined, we will create an appropriate treatment plan to get you feeling well as soon as possible.
Specific Chiropractic Adjustments | Springfield, IL
When a bone in the spine is not in the correct position, it can put pressure on the nerve(s) leaving the spine. This is called subluxation, and chiropractors are experts at identifying and correcting these spinal misalignments. This is almost always part of the problem with sciatica. Through chiropractic adjustments, we restore normal alignment in the spine which takes pressure off nerves. This can reduce pain and give your body a chance to heal and function properly. Because sciatica is an issue that can have multiple causes (pressure on the nerve from different places), it is rarely a quick fix. We create treatment plan based on the causes of your specific condition to make sure recovery is as rapid as possible. The nervous system heals more slowly than muscles, so typically sciatica will take weeks to months to heal fully—longer if problem has existed for a long time.
Therapeutic Exercises Designed for You in Springfield, IL
Muscle imbalance and weakness is often an underlying cause of sciatica, especially chronic sciatica. If some muscles pull on the spine harder than others that leads to the spine being pulled out of alignment. This alignment issue often causes the nerve pressure than results in sciatica. We prescribe exercises to ensure all muscles to do their job together properly to support the spine. At Capitol Chiropractic Health Center, we discuss or prescribe exercises with nearly all our patients. Chiropractic adjustments can take the symptoms away, but without proper muscular support, they will likely come back quite soon.
Root Causes of Sciatica
Bulging Disc or Herniated Disc in The Lower Back
The lower back is called the lumbar spine, and there are 5 bones in that section of the spine. Between each of these bones is a disc that functions as a shock absorber. These discs are located between each bone (vertebra) in the lower back and function as shock absorbers; However, repetitive stress or trauma damages discs over time creating bulging or herniations. If the discs bulge into the wrong spot, it compresses a nerve and sciatica symptoms begin. Receiving treatment quickly for herniated or bulging discs is necessary for prompt healing. If untreated, disc bulges and herniations are some of the most common reasons for back surgery. Help yourself avoid back surgery by coming to see us before your sciatica gets worse!
Degenerative Disc Disease
Over time, the discs between the bones on our spine start to wear down, just like most things in our body. This process is called degeneration. It happens to all of us, but excessive sitting, repetitive lifting, and lifestyle choices that lead to high levels of inflammation (smoking, poor diet, frequent injuries, etc) speed up degeneration and it is even considered a type of arthritis. When this process starts to cause pain, it becomes a condition called degenerative disc disease which can put pressure on the nerves in the lower back. This condition of degeneration is impossible to cure, but the pain and “disease” associated with it can often be resolved, but it takes a joint effort of the doctors at Capitol Chiropractic Health Center and you doing at-home care (exercises, stretches, and sometimes dietary changes) to get symptoms under control and able to enjoy your life again. If left untreated, degeneration is a progressive condition and will continue to worsen, so don’t delay or it may be impossible to cure your symptoms.
Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal and begins to press on the nerves in the spinal cord. Pressure on the spinal cord causes improper communication between the brain and the legs. This can result in sciatica (often into both legs), weakness or heaviness in the legs, and poor balance. The most telling sign of spinal stenosis is in increase in symptoms when standing and walking that improves when leaning on something like a cart or a wheelchair. Chiropractic adjustments and therapeutic exercises both help to increase the space available for the spinal cord and help symptoms. Spinal stenosis can happen for many reasons. All are treatable, but not all are curable. All patients with significant stenosis should have an MRI to determine the cause and appropriate treatment plan.
Subluxation–or bones out of proper alignment–is the most common cause of sciatica. Because the nerves that make up your sciatic nerve come from your lower spine, any significant subluxation in that area will put pressure on these nerves and can cause sciatica. Finding and correcting subluxations is the specialty of chiropractors. Sometimes subluxation is secondary to another problem (such as muscle weakness) so the doctors at Capitol Chiropractic Health Center always perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause and best possible treatment plan for you.
Muscle Strain or Spasm
The sciatic nerve travels directly through a muscle called the piriformis. If this muscle is injured or is in spasms for any other reason, sciatica is extremely common. Other nearby muscle spasms can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Correcting nearby alignment problems helps muscles heal and decrease spasm, so chiropractic adjustments are the best single therapy for this. Additionally, soft tissue work to the muscle (like massage therapy) is very helpful in decreasing spasms. Based on the muscles involved and severity of spasm, the doctors at Capitol Chiropractic Health Center put will create a treatment plan for you to get better as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of doctor helps sciatica the most?
Both medical doctors and chiropractors can help sciatica, but research shows that chiropractic is generally safer, more effective, and less costly. People who see a medical doctor for sciatica first more likely to end up with surgery than those who see a chiropractor first. Conservative treatments like those from a chiropractor may not always fix sciatica but are always the best first line of defense.
What is the fastest way to get better?
The best treatment for your sciatica depends on the cause. Here at Capitol Chiropractic Health Center, our comprehensive exam and consultation will ensure we discover the root cause, and we will create a treatment plan designed to get you the fastest possible recovery. Whether it is from a disc, bone, muscle, or nerve issue, we will treat it the best way possible. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for sciatica.
How long does sciatica last?
The duration of sciatica depends on the cause. If there is pressure on the sciatic nerve from a disc or bone in your spine, then sciatica will be present until that that pressure is removed. If sciatica is being caused by swelling and inflammation, when that swelling and inflammation goes down, the symptoms will dissipate.
Should I exercise while I have sciatica?
Generally, moderate to intense exercise should be avoided when having any more than mild sciatica. Once symptoms calm down, slowly increasing activity level can be very beneficial, but until being cleared by a doctor, anything more than mild intensity exercise with sciatica is not recommended.
How should I lie down with sciatica?
The best position to lie in for sciatica is on your back with something (like a pillow) underneath he knees to allow them to be bent. This takes tension out of the sciatic nerve and allows it to move away from anything that may be putting pressure on it without putting extra strain on the muscular system.