Thank you for joining me again this evening for our nightly podcasts. I perform these podcasts in the hopes that you will be able to education yourself on the topics discussed so you can make better informed medical decisions regarding your health in the future. I am doctor Harrison Campbell of Restoration Health a premier sugar land chiropractors office. Previously we discussed carpal tunnel syndrome. Tonight, we will be discussing sciatica in a similar vein as we discussed carpal tunnel.
Last night we briefly mentioned how the term sciatica is used for any pain in the led which is deemed to be from a nerve. This is not true, however. Sciatica as sugar land chiropractors know is the term given to neuralgia or radicular pain in the sciatic nerve itself. There are several other nerves in the leg which can create neuralgia and pain in the lower extremity. The easiest way to break this down is to say that all sciatica is radicular pain, but not all radicular pain in the legs is sciatica.
Another form of misconception is the view that the sciatic nerve is a nerve at all. In actuality, the sciatic nerve does not even exist. What we term the sciatic nerve is actually two nerves wrapped together in a sheath for protection which then split forming the tibial nerve and the common fibular nerve around the level of the knee. For the sake of convenience and to avoid confusion we will simply stick with the sciatic nerve as a whole for this discussion.
Now on to sciatica. Sciatica is the neuralgia caused in the low back where the sciatic nerve is irritated to the degree where symptoms present. Similar to our discussion in double crush syndrome sugar land chiropractors can tell you that until a threshold is reached, irritation to a nerve remains asymptomatic, meaning no symptoms are present. Once symptomatic however, sciatica presents with the typical radicular symptoms associated with any nerve irritation. These being sharp pains sometimes described as bolts of lightning in the leg, numbness and tingling into the feet, loss of motor control in the legs, and a heavy feeling in the legs just to name a few.
The most common nerve affected with sciatica is the S one component of the nerve. This means most sciatica follows an S one dermatomal pattern to symptom presentation from what I have seen in my practice. Now it is important that there is some grey area when it comes to sciatica versus a particular nerve root neuralgia. The sciatic nerve as sugar land chiropractors can tell you has innervation from the L four, L five, S one, S two and S three nerve roots. A single nerve root can cause neuralgia or can present with sciatica. There can even be an injury to the sciatic nerve itself causing sciatica.
Let us return to the S one nerve discussion however. As stated, I find that the S one nerve is the most common component of the sciatic nerve to be injured. The sensory pattern for the S one as sugar land chiropractors can tell you, runs down the back of the leg, the back side of the calf and to the side of the foot going to the little toe. Now with sciatica you often get a little wider range of symptoms. Again, this is due to the innervation range that comprises the sciatic nerve. L four and L five also provide sensory to the inside and top of the foot respectively. S two and S three provide innervation to the sole of the foot.
A condition which is commonly confused with sciatica is piriformis syndrome. What occurs in piriformis syndrome as sugar land chiropractors know is the sciatic nerve is irritated due to the piriformis muscle applying pressure to the nerve as it passes through. This creates radicular symptoms similar to other neuralgia conditions, but there are distinct differences. Piriformis syndrome symptoms typically stop at or just above knee level. What this means is patients experience pain shooting down the leg, but it does not pass the knee. Any numbness and tingling they experience does not pass the knee.
Another condition which is commonly confused with sciatica is any neuralgia of the lower leg. I know this seems vague but recall what we discussed previously. In most cases should a patient experience pain down the leg they will refer to it as sciatica. In some cases, they are actually experiencing sciatica. In other a nerve other than the sciatic nerve is the problematic nerve meaning to term the condition sciatica is a misnomer. Remember that nerve roots L one, L two, and L three are not components of the sciatic nerve. This means that should there be radicular symptoms from an L two neuralgia calling it sciatica is incorrect as the L two has no part of innervating the sciatic nerve.
Finally, let us end with treatment of sciatica. As sugar land chiropractors will state, decompression is a viable form of treatment should the problem be near the nerve root. Decompression takes the pressure off of the disc herniation allowing it to heal properly. This is turn takes the irritant away from the nerve root causing the sciatica. Should piriformis syndrome be the cause for the sciatica symptoms we need to help decrease the tonicity or the tension in the muscle fibers for the piriformis muscle. This means soft tissue work and stretching will be treatment options for you to use in your recovery.
Thank you for joining me again this evening for another great podcast. I hope you enjoyed the discussion on sciatica, the sciatic nerve anatomy, and some conditions which are confused with sciatica. As always should you or someone you know require a sugar land chiropractors services or simply have more questions on what was discussed please call Restoration Health today. We would love to schedule you an appointment and get you on the path to better health today. Thank you once again for joining us. Have a good night.