Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sciatic Nerve: A Real Pinch

Sciatica: it’s a word that sounds like the name of a heavy metal band, but there’s nothing positive to say about sciatica (whether there is anything positive about heavy metal is up for debate as well, I guess). Chances are if you’ve ever had a run-in with it, sciatica has made sure that you never wanted to feel that pain again. It can get you in the back, butt, legs and even extend into your feet. It’s not just pain either - it’s numbness, pins & needles, and, in the worst case, muscle weakness/wasting. There’s a world of agony and suffering that comes with problems related to the sciatic nerve.

Even though people in general throw around the word sciatica as if it were a disease/condition itself, it’s actually just a grouping of symptoms. It doesn’t actually refer to one specific cause or diagnosis. However, it does describe the nature of the problem in that it is neuropathic (or related to nerve irregularities, compression or inflammation).

The sciatic nerve (also called the ischiatic nerve) exits the spinal canal in lower back and passes down through the buttocks into the legs. Nerve compression can happen at any point along that path but is very common in the lower back and rear end. Compression leads to inflammation which causes pain and worse depending on the severity.

You’ve probably heard someone complain of a pinched nerve. Sciatica is an example of a type of pinched nerve.

So now what? You’ve got the quick and dirty version of what it means to have sciatica - what should you do, right? That’s where opinions start to differ.

Many medical doctors will often subscribe pain medications or injections for nerve compressions, but in addition to the risk of dependency (among others) carried by some of the more powerful narcotics, who wants to put chemicals in their down if there’s another way?

Living Well Medical in SoHo/NoHo NYC
is a practice that integrates non-invasive methods like spinal decompression therapy and Active Release Technique with other approaches. We firmly believe that the non-invasive should be the first line of defense for pain; meds and injections shouldn’t be the starting point in a treatment that might be successful without it. Physical therapy and manual therapies can be just as effective for some patients. Chiropractic and the Cox Flexion technique also have their place in treating problems like herniated or bulging discs.

If you have back pain from sciatica in NYC or for any reason, give our office a call today at (212) 645-8151. We help people like you every day.

- NYC Chiropractor, Dr. Shoshany