It can be difficult to live with chronic sciatica pain. Simple activities and movements may aggravate your sciatica and affect the quality of your life. Sciatica is characterized by pain in the lower back that radiates down the back of the leg and is commonly experienced on one side of the body.
Acute sciatica characterized by a sudden onset and sharp pain typically lasting between few days to weeks and resolves itself with home care treatment and rest.
Sciatica is classified as chronic when it persists for more than three months.
To treat your sciatica effectively and to ensure that you have long-term relief from your symptoms, the treatment should work on the underlying cause of your sciatica. Unfortunately, most sciatica patients make some common treatment mistakes that can be avoided to get effective relief from your sciatica.
Mistake #1: Delay in seeking professional medical treatment
Most patients suffering from sciatica try to resolve their pain symptoms by self-treating through over-the-counter medications to help with their pain and inflammation. While homecare treatment may work for acute sciatica, it is important to connect with a medical professional for chronic sciatica pain even if you experience mild symptoms and pain. A medical professional can rule out potentially serious medical conditions causing your sciatica and can help you effectively treat your sciatica for long-term relief.
Mistake #2: Forgoing activity
Resting to relieve pressure on your spine and lower back may reduce irritation and may help provide short-term pain relief. However, a prolonged period of inactivity can aggravate your pain. Prolonged sitting or sleeping can put undue pressure on your lower back and spine, pinching and irritating the sciatica nerve triggering sciatica. Inactivity can reduce muscle strength, flexibility and may lead to an increase in weight gain and contribute to worsening your sciatica.
A randomized clinical trial at the University of Utah Health concluded that physical therapy increased the range of motions and helped sciatica patients to recover more quickly.
Mistake #3: Incorrect exercises
While exercise and stretching are good for overall health and to help you maintain optimum body weight, increase muscle strength and flexibility, unfortunately not all exercises are beneficial to sciatica patients. High impact exercises like running cause repetitive physical impact to your lower back and muscles surrounding the sciatica nerve and may lead to an increase in your sciatica pain. Improper weight lifting can stress your lower back and spine and may aggravate your sciatica.
Consult a chiropractor who can help you with physical therapy and demonstrate the safe and correct way to perform exercises to help manage your sciatica.
Mistake #4: Failure to treat the underlying cause
Prescription medications to relieve pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants are sometimes considered by patients as the first treatment options for relieving sciatica. Unfortunately, most prescription medications have numerous side effects and only provide short-term symptomatic pain relief.
90% of sciatica is caused due to a herniated disc in the lower back which in turn pinches, compresses, or irritates the sciatic nerve causing sciatica pain. Prescription medications fail to treat the underlying cause of your sciatica. Increasing and long-term usage of prescription pain medication may also lead to developing addiction and dependency on pain medications.
Steroid injection shots may provide short-term pain relief from sciatica and reduce inflammation, but they too fail to treat the underlying root cause of your sciatica. Research published in the Medicine Journal concluded that steroid injections may provide short-term relief but fail to provide long-term relief for chronic sciatica.
Mistake #5: Opting for Surgery without exploring non-surgical options
When you fail to seek relief from prescription pain medications, steroid injection shots, it may seem that you only have surgery as the last treatment option for sciatica. Unfortunately, studies have shown that surgery might not be the best treatment option for chronic sciatica.
A study published in the National Library of Medicine concluded that patients with chronic sciatica have poor outcomes following surgery. Surgery is not only expensive but there is a long recovery time and rehabilitation therapy required post-surgery. Moreover, there are numerous risks associated with surgery.
Typically, in our view, surgery is not recommended for most sciatica cases unless your symptoms worsen suddenly and rapidly, or you lose control of your bowel and bladder. Check with your health professional to determine your circumstances and best choice for you.
Chiropractic care can effectively treat sciatica
Sciatica can be resolved naturally and non-surgically through spinal manipulation and spinal decompression therapy.
Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy relieves pressure on your spine. It is a safe, pain-free, and non-invasive medical procedure to treat a variety of back pain conditions. Whether your sciatica is caused due to a herniated disc or due to the narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) or a slipped spinal vertebra (spondylosis), spinal decompression therapy can effectively provide effective and long-term relief for sciatica.
Chiropractic care can effectively and naturally manage your sciatica through a combination of physical therapy, a homecare exercise regime, and non-surgical spinal decompression. Reach out to our team at Cianci Chiropractic to schedule your next appointment.