The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, originating in the lower back and traveling down both legs into the toes. Sciatic is a combination of some or all of the following: pain, tingling (“pins and needles”), numbness, burning and/or weakness in the lower back and/or leg (foot) that can travel down the back of the thigh and legs into the foot. This can be due to pressure on the sciatic nerve, inflammation to the sciatic nerve (or the areas directly surrounding the nerve), and most common an irritation of the sciatic nerve.
There are many potential causes to irritate the sciatic nerve including: injury/trauma to the sciatic nerve, pressure caused by its surrounding structure such as a space occupying lesion (tumor), stenosis, bad posture and over doing physical activities, like playing sports or working out, inflammation of the the low back muscles (erectors) and the muscles in the buttocks; the piriformis. Of them, the most common is a misalignment of the vertebrae which are the starting point of the sciatica nerve.
Sciatic nerves control and regulate the reproductive organs, digestive system, muscles of the lower body and legs, and much more. If sciatic is left untreated, it can lead to physical problems including:
- Drop Foot
- Digestion problems
- Edema or leg swelling
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Menstrual problems
- Urinary problmes
- Leg/foot weakness
As you can see, leaving sciatic untreated for any length of time will be detrimental to your health – and the problem will worsen over time. When you are experiencing pain, it is your body warning you that something is wrong and needs to be corrected. Taking NSAIDS and other pain medications to deal with your sciatic pain will NOT correct your sciatic, it will simply mask the pain for a limited period of time while your real problem may get worse.
Click here to learn more about chiropractic care for sciatica, and to schedule an appointment today!