Your sciatic nerve runs from your lower back, down the rear side of each leg. Many people experience pain along this nerve, and into the hips. It may feel like burning or tingling, or it could just ache like crazy. Often, sciatic pain (commonly known as sciatica) will manifest itself when standing or walking, but it can happen anytime. Sciatica can also result in weakness or numbness, making basic functions more difficult all the way down to your foot.
While sciatica is pretty common, that doesn’t make it any less problematic. The pain can be minor to severe, and it tends to linger or recur often. If your sciatic nerve is acting up, you want relief, and you want that relief to last! That’s why at Balanced Health Care we first focus on identifying the root cause of your sciatic pain. Once we find that root cause we can then eliminate it.
Possible Root Causes of Sciatic Pain
There are a number of reasons why you might be suffering. Most likely, your body is trying to tell you something. That message could involve:
- Herniated Disc(s): Your spinal discs have a soft inner material. When this material breaks form and protrudes from its natural placement, it can push against nerves near the spine.
- Piriformis Syndrome: This stems from excess sitting, such as at a desk, driving, or a sedentary lifestyle. The piriformis muscle tightens up and affects the sciatic nerve but specialized stretching can help.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: As we age, some degeneration in the spine is natural. If the problem extends to multiple spinal discs, there could be disease present.
- Trauma: Injury, accident, or other changes (such as pregnancy) can irritate or damage the sciatic nerve, causing pain and discomfort.
- Spondylolisthesis: When vertebrae slide forward, it can cause sciatic pain. Flexion exercises can often bring relief in this case.
- Upper Neck Misalignment: Misalignment in the upper neck due to trauma or other factors can cause a domino effect down the spine — including the sciatic nerve — when it tries to compensate for imbalance at the top.
It Comes Down to Pressure
The overriding cause of sciatic pain is usually pressure on the sciatic nerve. This pressure, and the accompanying pain, can very often be relieved through NUCCA, a form of upper cervical chiropractic care. Upper cervical chiropractic therapy is focused on the whole spine, beginning at the head. Head or neck injuries (whiplash is a common one), or even issues as seemingly insignificant as your favorite sleeping position or your posture at work, can throw off alignment where the spine meets the skull, called the Atlas. This can cause the spine to twist and turn and to compensate all the way down the spine. Therefore, to find the root cause of sciatic pain, the Atlas area must be examined, and then realigned, if necessary, using NUCCA chiropractic techniques.
Traditional chiropractic and health care often underestimate the importance of the Atlas. If you’re having sciatic pain, consider Balanced Health Care. We’ve received specialized training on correcting Atlas misalignment and are certified with the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). We have seen NUCCA help hundreds of patients with Sciatica. This approach is a very precise and gentle correction that realigns the spine by correcting the position of the Atlas bone – allowing full healing of issues in the spinal cord, including sciatic nerve pain.