If you are looking for relief from sciatica near Springfield, IL, look no further. The chiropractors or doctors 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 most often occurs when the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. Five nerves from the spine join 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. These branches control all functions of the thighs, legs, and feet.
Sciatica can be present with various symptoms, but the most common is pain that travels down the outside or back of the thigh. It can also present with symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning, and/or weakness anywhere from the hip to the toes. Symptoms associated with sciatica can be debilitating and interfere with everyday life. 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
New patients at Capitol Chiropractic Health Center always begin with a 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 your goals of treatment. After the consultation, our doctors will perform a thorough exam that includes orthopedic, neurologic, and chiropractic tests as well as evaluating movement to help 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 a complex issue that often has overlapping causes, it can take time to fully address your problem. Therefore, your doctor creates a customized care plan for you to follow. The nervous system heals more slowly that muscles, so typically sciatica will take weeks to months to heal fully—longer if problem has existed for a long time. If the cause is properly treated, relief is in your future.
Custom Therapeutic Exercises
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.
Common Causes of Sciatica in Springfield, IL
Bulging or Herniated Disc in the Lumbar Spine
One of the most common causes of sciatica is a bulging or herniated disc in the lower back. These discs are located between each bone (vertebra) in the lower back. These discs are shock absorbers and make the spine a stronger and more mobile. However, repetitive stress or trauma damages discs over time creating bulging or herniations. If the discs bulge into the wrong spot, it presses on nerves and result in sciatica into the leg and possibly even down to the foot. If you have a herniated disc causing sciatica, it is imperative that you receive treatment as quickly as possible. This can be a debilitating condition that can drastically decrease the quality of your life. The longer the issue persists, the more difficult it is to treat. Many disc injuries end up ultimately requiring surgery to fix because they were not addressed promptly. If we discover the disc issue quickly, return to full function with no pain is usually possible.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Another common cause of sciatica is degenerative disc disease. As part of the aging process, discs breakdown and become less supple. If this progresses faster than it should, it is called degenerative disc disease and it is most often associated with arthritis in the lower back. As discs break down, the space between the bones shrinks and so does the space for nerves. As long as we treat this early enough, pain can be completely alleviated and full function restored, but the chances of having sciatica in the future are typically greater than those without degenerative disc disease. The further progressed this condition is, the less progress we can expect, but in most cases, we can help improve quality of life and improve movement and function. This is a progressive condition that gets worse if left untreated and chiropractic can greatly slow the progression. Nothing can fix this underlying cause of sciatica.
Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal in which the spinal cord travels. When this space is narrowed, it puts more pressure on your spinal cord and results in improper communication between the brain and the legs. Not only does it cause sciatica (oftentimes affecting both legs instead of just one), but it can also cause weakness or heaviness in the legs, poor balance, and inability to control bladder/bowels. For those with spinal stenosis, standing and walking are usually bothersome, while sitting and leaning forward helps relieve pressure. Because the pressure it on the spinal cord in the center of the body, sciatic symptoms are often felt in both legs instead of just one. This is extremely uncomfortable and often keeps people from walking and other everyday activities. Chiropractic adjustments and spinal decompression 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.
One of the most common causes of sciatica that chiropractors treat is subluxation. Subluxation occurs when a vertebra in your spine shifts or moves out of its normal position. When this occurs in your lower back, it can put pressure on the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve and cause intense leg pain, burning, numbness, weakness, or other symptoms. Chiropractors are the experts in identifying and correcting subluxation, so it is wise to have your spine checked by a chiropractor if you are experiencing sciatica. Sometimes subluxation is secondary to another problem (often 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 nerve is injured or is in spasms for any other reason, sciatica is extremely common. Other 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.
Is it better to see a medical doctor or a chiropractor about sciatica?
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 best treatment for sciatica?
Chiropractors are one of the best healthcare providers for treating sciatica because they address the root cause of your problem. Whether it is from a disc, bone, muscle, or nerve issue, we will treat it the best way possible. At Capitol Chiropractic Health Center, we will determine the best treatment plan for you with your sciatica. 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.