Thank you for joining me again this evening for our nightly podcast. I am Dr. Harrison Campbell owner of Restoration Health a premier sugar land chiropractors office. In tonightís podcast we will be discussing sciatica and the associated sign and synonyms as well as treatment options.
To start we will discuss what sciatica is. As sugar land chiropractors will tell you the sciatic nerve is actually two nerves bundled together that runs down from the low back to the back of the leg all the way to the outside of the foot. This nerve is the main nerve of the low back and it one of the more common nerves to be affected in disc injuries or piriformis syndrome.
Due to the sciatica being a neurological condition meaning a nerve is involved, the symptoms are in line with those of a neurological condition. Nerves are very sensitive and when irritated they will let you know. Typically with a disc injury this irritation comes from the inflammation that is produced in a disc her niation. In piriformis syndrome the irritation comes from the piriformis muscle spamming around the sciatic nerve as sugar land chiropractors will tell you.
Now the most common signs and symptoms for sciatica include burning pains, numbness and tingling, muscle weakness, throbbing pains, and in some cases a complete lack of sensation.
We will start with the pain aspect of the symptoms then discuss the sensory and muscular aspect of the symptoms.
Throbbing, burning, bolt of lightning. These are the most common descriptors used to describe sciatica by the patient and people who unfortunately have suffer with this condition. As stated previously nerves are incredibly sensitive. All sugar land chiropractors will agree with this statement and many will utilize the same example to provide evidence of this. Have you ever hit your funny bone? There is the ulnar nerve in the elbow and it is relatively close to the surface. Hitting the elbow at the right angle will produce that shooting pain down the forearm that lingers for a few minutes. The reason for this is the ulnar nerve is sensitive and react poorly to irritation. The irritation in this case was the blunt trauma to the elbow. For sciatica the irritation is usually a disc herniation and resulting inflammation or the piriformis muscle.
As you can imagine having shooting, burning, lightning like pain is not conducive to a good quality of life.
The other aspect of sciatica is the sensory and muscular components of the nerve. Let us start with the muscular components. When a nerve is irritated as sugar land chiropractors will tell you the muscles innervate or controlled by that nerve can experience muscle weakness or dysfunction. For sciatica this can create problems with walking and the inability to move the legs and even problems with using the restroom. Now typically the muscular problems will being after the sensory problems have been established, but in traumatic injuries these two components may occur simultaneously.
As for the sensory components, sensory refers to feeling or touch, temperature, etcetera. What allows you to feel sensation on the skin, to feel temperature, even knowing where your leg is positioned when you cannot see it, something known as proprioception are all derived from the nerves. For sciatica this means decreased sensation in the legs which can be only numbness or tingling in the foot, to tripping over curbs and stumbling due to poor proprioception, to not feeling anything at all. As sugar land chiropractors can tell you, not feeling numbness and tingling with sciatica is not always a good sign. In some cases you do not have numbness and tingling due to having no sensation what so ever.
Now treatment for sciatica range of doing nothing to conservative care to different types of surgical intervention. Let us start with doing nothing. First of all, this is something I absolutely do not recommend. These symptoms will not disappear on their own. As previously stated sometimes the symptoms disappearing is due to having no sensation what so ever, which is a worsening of symptoms. Doing nothing will only prolong your pain, increase your symptoms, and ensure you have a continuous problem with your sciatic nerve.
Surgical interventions include pain management and discectomies, both of which have been covered in previous podcasts. Pain management or steroid injections Is not as invasive as discectomies where they remove part of the vertebrae and part of the disc. Pain management is typically performed in conjunction with conservative care where some symptoms linger in spite of the conservative care.
Conservative care is what sugar land chiropractors excel at. This includes rehabilitative exercises, decompression, passive therapies, and adjustments. We have discussed each of these therapies in previous podcasts but let us review. Exercises are performed to properly align the healing tissue fibers to ensure they are strong and flexible to handle the job they are required to perform. Decompression take the pressure off the injured disc allowing the healing fibers to form along proper patterns and alleviate pressure on the nerve root as best as it can. Passive therapies, primarily electrical stimulation and ultrasound are used to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, and stimulate blood flow to quicken the healing process. Adjustments are done to help restore normal motion to the joint reducing the pressure placed on the adjacent tissues, such as an intervertebral disc, from joint dysfunction.
Each of these conservative therapies can be utilized with minimal risks to improve the patientís health and break the pain cycle. We can help prevent continuous problems with the sciatic nerve in many patients if the time is taken to heal properly.
Thank you for joining in on our nightly podcasts. I do hope you found it educational. As always should you or someone you know require the services of sugar land chiropractors do not hesitate to call Restoration Health to schedule you an appointment today. Thanks once again for joining. Have a good evening and hope to see you next time.