Is pain shooting down your leg – perhaps with tingling or numbness? Well, it may be sciatica – a medical term often caused by a low-back condition. Early Germans called sciatica “the witch’s shot” because a sharp pain came on suddenly, perhaps due to a devilish connection. The Celts called sciatica “the elf’s arrow” because they felt as if an elf shot them.
Sciatica, a symptom of a spinal disorder – occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed, irritated or inflamed. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body. It runs from the spinal column near the pelvis down each leg and may be as wide as the thumb. Each sciatic nerve is made up of five smaller nerves that branch into the thigh, knee, calf, ankle and foot.
Sciatica is associated with pain, burning, tingling sensations, numbness, and muscle weakness in the hip, buttock, leg, calf and foot. Pain varies in intensity – from minimal to severe, and in frequency – from occasional to constant. Pain may be described as dull, achy, sharp, pins and needles or similar to electric shocks. This pain can last for several days or weeks and may subside for a few hours.
A misaligned lower spine that pinches the root of the sciatic nerve may result in sciatica. Several types of spinal disorders can cause spinal nerve compression and sciatica. The most common spinal disorders include a bulging or herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces in the spinal column that cause compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots), Spondylolisthesis (characterized by one vertebra slipping forward over an adjacent vertebra), trauma (slip and fall, auto or sports injury), spinal tumors and Piriformis Syndrome – named after the Piriformis muscle, located in the lower part of the spine, connecting to the thigh bone – which helps with hip rotation. Since the sciatic nerve runs under the Piriformis muscle, it becomes susceptible to injury.
Arthritis, pregnancy and childbirth, diabetes, constipation, vitamin deficiencies, and any degeneration (resulting from long-term stress on the lower back) can cause sciatica. Being over-weight or having poor posture while standing, sitting, lifting, bending or twisting can trigger symptoms. Additionally, walking or running improperly, sitting on one’s back pocket wallet or even sneezing can lead to sciatica.
Unfortunately, many people suffering with sciatica wait until their pain becomes unbearable to seek help. Waiting can cause long-term damage. If you think you may be suffering with sciatica, contact one of our Spine Specialists at the AIMS Clinic. The first step towards relieving pain is a proper diagnosis! We provide patients with an accurate and efficient diagnosis relating to their symptoms. Our Center employs the latest technology and procedures to find the root cause of discomfort quickly often without invasive options. An accurate diagnosis will ensure that each patient receives the best treatments to relieve their pain and get them back to a pain-free lifestyle.
Our Board Certified Medical Doctors, Pain Management Specialist, Physical Therapists, Chiropractors and Acupuncturist utilize specific diagnostic tests and evaluations to determine the cause(s) of sciatica. Analysis is based upon the patient’s health history, x-rays and/or MRI findings and a structural and muscular examination. We offer and integrate the following treatment options:
Pain Management: Prescription Pain Medication Intervention, Trigger Point Injections, Joint Injections, Epidural Injections, Nerve Blocks, Facet Joint Blocks and Radio Frequency Nerve Ablation, are offered to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.
Physical Therapy Exercises and Stretches: Our Physical Therapists create customized exercise programs for patients suffering with sciatica, including aerobic conditioning, strengthening exercises and movements to increase flexibility and range of motion. This helps to restore function by increasing mobility and strengthening muscles, which support and strengthen the lumbar spine and pelvis. Of course, certain exercises may have to be avoided depending upon the cause of sciatic pain.
Deep Tissue Massage: Targets chronic muscle tension that presses on the sciatic nerve or related nerve roots. Direct pressure and friction to release this tension in soft tissues (ligaments, tendons, muscles) is utilized. Massage therapy is used to reduce muscle spasms.
Ice/Cold Therapy: Reduces inflammation and helps to control sciatic pain.
Ultrasound: Sound waves create gentle heat which penetrates deep into tissues. This treatment option increases circulation and helps to reduce muscle spasms, cramping, swelling, stiffness and pain.
TENS Unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): Variable intensities of electrical current control acute pain and reduce muscle spasms.
Chiropractic Adjustments (Spinal Manipulation): Manipulation frees restricted movement of the spine and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position. Nerve irritability, caused by inflammation, muscle spasm and pain can be reduced with spinal adjustments.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression: Our specialized chiropractic table bends and elongates the spine to reduce pressure within the disc, which may provide both immediate pain relief and rehabilitation to prevent future recurrences. Spinal decompression helps to alleviate pressure on discs, which in turn reduces pressure on the sciatic nerve. Reducing the pressure in the lumbar discs promotes healing of the disc as fluids and nutrients enter the disc through diffusion.
Supports: Proper support is vital to prevent slouching – placing excessive stress on the lower back. A chair that tilts back slightly will shift your weight to the backrest of the chair, taking stress off the lower back. Support is necessary while lying down too – a saggy mattress may irritate the spinal joints and aggravate sciatica.
Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the belief that the body needs to be in balance to remain healthy. Pain and illness occur when the body is out of balance and there is a disturbance in the body’s energy. Acupuncture, along with other TCM treatments (herbal medicine and various types of massage) focus on returning the body to a delicate balance.
Nutritional Recommendations: The typical American diet is rich in animal protein and fat, resulting in a population of overweight adults and rising obesity rates.extra pounds can damage joints in the lower extremities – hips, knees, ankles and feet. Consuming junk food, high-fat meats and sugar may increase inflammation – due to unhealthy fats (especially trans fats and saturated fats) used in preparation and processing.
Processed meats, (lunch meats and hot dogs) may contain chemicals (nitrites) associated with increased inflammation. Too much arachidonic acid – found in saturated fats (meats, dairy products and eggs) may also cause inflammation – so, select low-fat milk and cheese and lean cuts of meat. Diets high in sugar (sodas, pastries, sweetened cereals and candy) are associated with inflammation and should be eliminated. Finally, nightshades – potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant contain a chemical alkaloid – solanine, which can trigger pain in some people.
Discover how our unique combination of non-surgical medical procedures, chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, acupuncture and nutritional support are revolutionizing sciatica treatment. If you are suffering with the painful symptoms of sciatica – along with missed days of work, missed time with family and friends, then you certainly may be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
Stop suffering, we can help you. Consult with a member of our highly trained medical staff for an accurate diagnosis. Once the cause has been identified, a systematic sciatica treatment plan can be created specifically to meet the needs of your body and provide you with pain relief. In addition, a course of treatment can correct any underlying problems that may have caused your pain in the first place.
Call New Jersey’s own Alternative Integrated Medical Services today at 732-254-5553 and receive a FREE Initial Consultation. Our goal is to provide the most advanced and compassionate pain relief. Our Team of Experts and friendly staff at your local East Brunswick, NJ AIMS Clinic, will help you reduce or eliminate pain and improve function. As our patient, we will teach you how to regain your health with our revolutionary new treatment program.