May 27, 2024
Home » Non-Surgical Treatments for Sciatica: What You Need to Know

For individuals dealing with sciatica, can non-surgical treatments like chiropractic care and acupuncture reduce pain and restore function?

Introduction

The human body is a complex machine that allows the host to be mobile and stable when resting. With various muscle groups in the upper and lower body portions, the surrounding muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments serve a purpose for the body as they all have specific jobs in keeping the host functional. However, many individuals have developed various habits that cause strenuous activities that cause repetitive motions to their muscles and nerves and affect their musculoskeletal system. One of the nerves that many individuals have been dealing with pain is the sciatic nerve, which causes many issues in the lower body extremities and, when not treated right away, leads to pain and disability. Luckily, many individuals have sought non-surgical treatments to reduce sciatica and restore body function to the individual. Today’s article focuses on understanding sciatica and how non-surgical therapies like chiropractic care and acupuncture can help reduce the sciatic pain-like effects that are causing overlapping risk profiles in the lower body extremities. We discuss with certified medical providers who consolidate with our patients’ information to assess how sciatica is often correlated with environmental factors that cause dysfunction in the body. We also inform and guide patients on how various non-surgical treatments can help reduce sciatica and its correlating symptoms. We also encourage our patients to ask their associated medical providers many intricate and important questions about incorporating various non-surgical therapies as part of their daily routine to reduce the chances and effects of sciatica from returning. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., includes this information as an academic service. Disclaimer.

 

Understanding Sciatica

Do you often feel radiating pain that travels down one or both legs when sitting down for a long period? How often have you experienced tingling sensations that cause you to shake your leg to reduce the effect? Or have you noticed that stretching your legs causes temporary relief? While these overlapping pain symptoms can affect the lower extremities, many individuals may think it is low back pain, but in actuality, it is sciatica. Sciatica is a common musculoskeletal condition that affects many people worldwide by causing pain to the sciatic nerve and radiating down to the legs. The sciatic nerve is pivotal in providing direct and indirect motor function to the leg muscles. (Davis et al., 2024) When the sciatic nerve is compressed, many people state that the pain can vary in intensity, accompanied by symptoms like tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness that can affect a person’s ability to walk and function. 

 

 

However, some of the root causes that lead to the development of sciatica can play into the factor that causes the pain in the lower extremities. Several inherent and environmental factors are often associated with sciatica, causing lumbar nerve root compression on the sciatic nerve. Factors like poor health status, physical stress, and occupational work are correlated with the development of sciatica and can impact a person’s routine. (Gimenez-Campos et al., 2022) Additionally, some of the root causes of sciatica can include musculoskeletal conditions like herniated discs, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis, which can correlate with these inherent and environmental factors that can reduce many individuals’ motility and life quality. (Zhou et al., 2021) This causes many individuals to seek out treatments to relieve sciatica pain and its correlating symptoms. While the pain caused by sciatica can vary, many individuals often seek non-surgical treatments to alleviate their discomfort and pain from sciatica. This allows them to incorporate effective solutions to managing sciatica. 

 


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Chiropractic Care For Sciatica

When it comes to seeking non-surgical treatments to reduce sciatica, non-surgical treatments can reduce the pain-like effects while helping restore body function and mobility. At the same time, non-surgical treatments are customized to the individual’s pain and can be incorporated into a person’s routine. Some non-surgical treatments like chiropractic care are excellent in reducing sciatica and its associated pain symptoms. Chiropractic care is a form of non-surgical therapy that focuses on restoring the body’s spinal movement while improving body function. Chiropractic care utilizes mechanical and manual techniques for sciatica to realign the spine and help the body heal naturally without surgery or medication. Chiropractic care can help decrease intradiscal pressure, increase intervertebral disc space height, and improve the range of motion in the lower extremities. (Gudavalli et al., 2016) When dealing with sciatica, chiropractic care can alleviate the unnecessary pressure on the sciatic nerve and help reduce the risk of reoccurrence through consecutive treatments. 

 

The Effects of Chiropractic Care For Sciatica

Some of the effects of chiropractic care for reducing sciatica can provide insight to the person as chiropractors work with associated medical providers to devise a personalized plan to relieve the pain-like symptoms. Many people who utilize chiropractic care to reduce the effects of sciatica can incorporate physical therapy to strengthen the weak muscles that surround the lower back, stretch to improve flexibility and be more mindful of what factors are causing sciatic pain in their lower extremities. Chiropractic care may guide many people on proper poster ergonomics, and various exercises to reduce the chances of sciatica returning while offering positive effects to the lower body.

 

Acupuncture For Sciatica

Another form of non-surgical treatment that can help reduce the pain-like effects of sciatica is acupuncture. As a key component in traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture therapy involves professionals placing thin, solid needles at specific points on the body. When it comes to reducing sciatica, acupuncture therapy can exert analgesic effects on the body’s acupoints, regulate the microglia, and modulate certain receptors along the pain pathway to the nervous system. (Zhang et al., 2023) Acupuncture therapy focuses on restoring the body’s natural energy flow or Qi to promote healing.

 

The Effects of Acupuncture For Sciatica

 Regarding the effects of acupuncture therapy on reducing sciatica, acupuncture therapy can help reduce the pain signals that sciatica produces by changing the brain signal and rerouting the corresponding motor or sensory disturbance of the affected area. (Yu et al., 2022) Additionally, acupuncture therapy can help provide pain relief by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever, to the specific acupoint that correlates with the sciatic nerve, reducing inflammation around the sciatic nerve, thus alleviating pressure and pain and helping improve nerve function. Both chiropractic care and acupuncture offer valuable non-surgical treatment options that can provide aid in the healing process and reduce pain caused by sciatica. When many people are dealing with sciatica and looking for numerous solutions to reduce the pain-like effects, these two non-surgical treatments can help many people address the underlying causes of sciatica, enhance the body’s natural healing process, and help provide significant relief from the pain.

 


References

Davis, D., Maini, K., Taqi, M., & Vasudevan, A. (2024). Sciatica. In StatPearls. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29939685

Gimenez-Campos, M. S., Pimenta-Fermisson-Ramos, P., Diaz-Cambronero, J. I., Carbonell-Sanchis, R., Lopez-Briz, E., & Ruiz-Garcia, V. (2022). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness and adverse events of gabapentin and pregabalin for sciatica pain. Aten Primaria, 54(1), 102144. doi.org/10.1016/j.aprim.2021.102144

Gudavalli, M. R., Olding, K., Joachim, G., & Cox, J. M. (2016). Chiropractic Distraction Spinal Manipulation on Postsurgical Continued Low Back and Radicular Pain Patients: A Retrospective Case Series. J Chiropr Med, 15(2), 121-128. doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2016.04.004

Yu, F. T., Liu, C. Z., Ni, G. X., Cai, G. W., Liu, Z. S., Zhou, X. Q., Ma, C. Y., Meng, X. L., Tu, J. F., Li, H. W., Yang, J. W., Yan, S. Y., Fu, H. Y., Xu, W. T., Li, J., Xiang, H. C., Sun, T. H., Zhang, B., Li, M. H., . . . Wang, L. Q. (2022). Acupuncture for chronic sciatica: protocol for a multicenter randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 12(5), e054566. doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054566

Zhang, Z., Hu, T., Huang, P., Yang, M., Huang, Z., Xia, Y., Zhang, X., Zhang, X., & Ni, G. (2023). The efficacy and safety of acupuncture therapy for sciatica: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trails. Front Neurosci, 17, 1097830. doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2023.1097830

Zhou, J., Mi, J., Peng, Y., Han, H., & Liu, Z. (2021). Causal Associations of Obesity With the Intervertebral Degeneration, Low Back Pain, and Sciatica: A Two-Sample Mendelian Randomization Study. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 12, 740200. doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2021.740200

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The information herein on "Non-Surgical Treatments for Sciatica: What You Need to Know" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

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Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols, and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. In addition, we use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans," Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems.
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