Stop the Suffering: How to Find Real Relief from Sciatica

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Did you know that up to 40% of people will experience sciatica at some point in their lives? This surprising statistic underscores the rampant nature of this condition, which can cause debilitating pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. The persistence of sciatic pain – which can range from mild to excruciating – can make finding genuine, lasting relief seem like an impossible puzzle.

However, here’s the good news: your situation is far from hopeless. In fact, there are several effective strategies you can start using today to take charge of your health and free yourself from the clutches of this pain. This article will guide you through each one of these strategies, providing you with an inventory of tools and resources you can use to combat sciatica.

This article will equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about your health, from understanding when to seek medical intervention to crafting the right treatment approach for sciatica pain management. So, let’s take the first step of this journey together by diving into the basics of what sciatica is and why it causes pain.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a type of pain that originates in your lower back and travels down your leg, via the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. It stretches from your lower spine, extending through your hip and buttocks and down the backs of your legs, culminating at your feet. So if you’ve been feeling lower back and hip pain on one side, your doctor or chiropractor will most certainly have sciatica on their list of possible diagnoses. 

What Does the Sciatic Nerve Do?

The sciatic nerve plays a crucial role in connecting the spinal cord with the muscles of the legs and feet. It is responsible for both motor and sensory functions in the leg. In other words, it stimulates movement in the legs and feet and helps you feel sensations in these areas. 

These sensations are, of course, vital in helping you move, find balance, avoid injuries, and monitor your health. However, the downside is that the nerve that delivers all these benefits can also be highly susceptible to damage, pressure or other stimuli that may cause pain.. 

Why Does the Sciatic Nerve Become Painful?

Sciatica develops when the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots in the spine are compressed or irritated. There are numerous potential causes for this condition. Understanding the root cause will help your healthcare professional devise an appropriate course of treatment for your sciatica.

Common causes of sciatica include: 

  • A herniated disk in the spine: Occurs when the soft, jelly-like centre of a spinal disk pushes out through a tear in the more rigid, rubbery exterior.
  • Bone spurs: Also known as osteophytes, bone spurs are smooth, hard calciferous bumps that form on the ends of bones, often in the joints. They can also form on the bones of the spine.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back.
  • Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the one below it, which can compress the nerve.
  • Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, can irritate or compress the sciatic nerve if it spasms.
  • Pregnancy: The changes in the body during pregnancy, including weight gain, hormonal changes, and the shift in the centre of gravity, can cause sciatica.
  • Tumours or Abscesses: In rare cases, tumours or abscesses in the spine can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Injury or Infection: An injury to the spine or an infection can also lead to sciatica.

These conditions can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and discomfort that we collectively know as sciatica. The pain is often felt in the leg, and most sufferers describe it as a burning, stabbing, or shooting sensation.

While it’s critical to be aware of the potential underlying causes, it’s also vital that you avoid “diagnosis by Google.” Instead, visit a qualified health provider like a GP or chiropractor who can conduct the tests needed to confirm your diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan. 

Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?

Chiropractic care centres around spinal manipulation and other manual therapies, making it a popular and effective natural treatment for sciatica. It can relieve pain without the need for harsh medications and is generally considered a safe treatment option. Once all preliminary testing is complete and a treatment plan devised, your chiropractor will use spinal adjustments to correct any misalignments in your spine that may contribute to your sciatic nerve irritation.

More research is always needed. However, we have both patient reports and scientific evidence backing the efficacy of chiropractic care for sciatica. For example, a meta-analysis of numerous studies conducted in 2015 demonstrated that chiropractic care can provide relief for various kinds of back pain, including sciatica. It’s interesting to note that back pain is one of the most extensively researched and advocated applications of chiropractic treatment.

Furthermore, research endorsed by the National Institutes of Health shows that chiropractic care is typically safe for most people. A skilled, experienced, and trustworthy chiropractor will determine whether you’re a good candidate for chiropractic care and will let you know if your condition dictates that you should seek an alternative form of therapy. 

This evidence is why many people with sciatica consider chiropractic care, particularly when weighed against the side effects associated with the long-term use of pain medications.

Should I Go to a Doctor or Chiropractor for Sciatica?

The choice between a doctor and a chiropractor for sciatica depends on personal preference, symptom severity, and needs. It’s a decision everyone must make for themselves. However, there’s no reason you can’t see both your GP and a chiropractor to ensure you have all bases covered. 

Left untreated, some cases of sciatica can lead to permanent damage to your sciatic nerve. This can leave you with chronic pain and muscle weakness. So, whatever you do, make sure to contact a health provider who can perform the required tests and get you started on a treatment plan. 

If you’re up for a more hands-on approach with customised therapeutic exercise programs, manual therapy, and spinal manipulations, a chiropractor may be ideal for you.

relief from sciatica

Browse our FAQ section for insights into chiropractic care and learn about Be Fit Chiro Brunswick’s evidence-based approaches and patient-focused treatments.

How Many Treatments for Sciatica with a Chiropractor?

The number of chiropractic treatments needed for sciatica varies depending on your current condition and end goals. A common regimen for effective relief from sciatica pain may look like this: 3-4 chiropractic adjustments each week in the first 2 weeks, followed by 2 to 3 adjustments each week from weeks 3 through 10. Once every two weeks is a standard maintenance practice.

It’s important to note that you will require some tests prior to commencing your treatment plan. When you’re in pain, it can be frustrating to have to go through tests and wait for results. However, these preliminary steps are vital in avoiding injuries and selecting suitable treatment protocols. You would not, for example, want to launch right into spinal manipulations if the underlying cause of your sciatica was a herniated disc. We can only start treating you safely and ethically once we fully understand the cause of your condition via these test results.

To learn more about what will happen during this assessment phase of your treatment, read our guide covering what to expect on your first visit to a chiropractor

Finding Relief from Sciatica

For now, there are several measures you can take to quickly relieve sciatica. Applying cold or hot packs to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate sciatica pain. Maintaining good posture, avoiding prolonged sitting, and using supportive cushions can greatly assist.

Stretching exercises for the lower back might provide relief by reducing pressure on the nerve. These exercises will be pivotal in your recovery plan. However, it is vital to perform them with the guidance of a healthcare professional. 

Whether you seek help from a chiropractor, GP, physiotherapist, or a combination of healthcare providers, the most important thing is to get started as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Our team of skilled chiropractors is prepared to accompany you on this path. We’ve walked countless clients through the sciatica recovery path and, along the way, have developed tried-and-true methods to boost flexibility, alleviate discomfort, and enhance overall spinal health. We’ll carry out thorough assessments and craft a treatment plan that’s customised to your specific symptoms, health objectives, and lifestyle.

So, if you’re searching for the best chiropractor for sciatica, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (03) 9118-0619 or schedule your appointment online. With the right approach and a supportive team of health professionals in your corner, you can conquer sciatica and regain your energy and well-being.

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Phil Dyer
Phil Dyer
Be fit chiro has been a game change having suffered chronic neck and back pain after two slipped discs the treatment and sessions have helped me gain knowledge and confidence back , can’t thank them enough
munsala cedric kadile
munsala cedric kadile
Great place Anthony has been very helpful and understanding helping me to get better through this journey. Highly recommend.
S Simon
S Simon
I've been coming to be fit Chiro for a short while now to help with my neck and back pain. Dr Anthony recommended the water pillow he sells in his practice to help - at first I was a little skeptical but after 3 weeks of use, I don't wake up with a stiff neck or neck pain any more. Super easy to use and you can change how firm you want it depending on how much water you fill inside. Thanks for the suggestion! I've told all my girlfriends about it as well!
Juan Carlo Ala
Juan Carlo Ala
Very knowledgeable. Helped me quite a bit so far with managing and reducing pain
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Nadeen Kattouf
Very nice service and helpful. Great diagnostic evidence based care. After 1 month, feeling so much better with less pain. Highly recommend Dr Anthony.
Jenny Thirgood
Jenny Thirgood
Literally changed my back pain within a week, they really take the time to ensure you understand what’s happening and to educate you on your skeletal health, subluxation etc. cannot recommend Be Fit enough, super friendly, efficient and personable too
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Domenico Spica
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Alisa I
Alisa I
I first visited Dr Anthony with hip pain that I’ve dealt with for years, and the pain completely went away after the first few sessions. I’ve been seeing him for a month now and have only noticed more improvements in my sleep, exercise and general wellbeing. Would definitely recommend as his approach to treatment is very thorough and he makes sure that you understand what’s going on throughout the process!