Determining if sciatica pain and symptoms are showing improvement can be as simple as the pain significantly reducing or it could be a bit more complex, depending on the severity of the condition. Chiropractic treatment keeps track of the location and movement of the pain as a reliable indicator that complete relief is getting closer. When the pain retreats up the leg, it is a sign of improvement even with back and buttock aches/pain that feel like it’s worsening.
The most common symptoms include:
Sciatica can get worse before it gets better. This is known as centralization where the pain moves or retreats back towards the midline of the spine after repeated movements or guided/chiropractic positioning and adjusting. It can be misleading, making the individual think the sciatica is worsening, or that something has caused a sciatica flare-up. However, healing is taking place. The furthest location away from the low back is the area to pay attention to. It’s different for individuals. It could be the:
No matter where the pain is pay attention to that particular area. If it feels like the sciatica is getting worse, take a moment to determine where the pain is presenting. If the pain has retreated and there is no pain in the foot, calf, or leg, the sciatica is getting better. What happens is the retreating pain going up the spine increases the pain in the back and buttocks. This means there is an improvement.
How to tell if it’s getting worse? An increase in pain could indicate that it is getting worse. But, the key is to pay attention to the location and movement of the pain. When it gets worse the pain is advancing, for example, if there was pain only in the back and buttock yesterday, and today the pain is radiating down the back of the leg into the calf, then the sciatica is getting worse.
For most individuals, sciatic nerve pain lasts from two to six weeks.
Sciatica that lasts more than six weeks is considered chronic. Medical intervention should be sought out if it lasts this long. Non-invasive treatment like chiropractic or physical therapy is recommended to help speed the healing process and reduce pain.
Most sciatica cases are caused by a spinal disc disorder in the lower back. Around 85% of sciatica cases are disc-related. There is a chance that sciatica can return. For most individuals, it only takes a small amount of work to keep sciatica at bay. Staying healthy and flexible are two ways to prevent sciatica from returning. This can be done through:
If overweight it is highly recommended to lose weight. One study showed that obesity increased the risk of hospitalization by 36%. Other factors that increase the potential for sciatica are frequent intense physical activity levels in sports, exercise, DIY projects, etc.
Whether dealing with sciatica during pregnancy, from tight hamstrings, or piriformis syndrome, chiropractic can help. A chiropractor can bring relief through:
Once the pain is manageable, the chiropractor will get to the root cause. They will utilize:
Surgery is rarely needed and only as a last resort. Chiropractic care will generate improvement and will educate the individual on what to do to prevent sciatica from flaring up.
There is essential fat in the body. It has a significant role in overall health and is essential for survival. Essential fat is present in the:
Essential fat helps with:
Non-essential/storage fat is adipose tissue that accumulates as an energy reserve. Storage fat affects body shape and appearance.
The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP, CIFM, CTG*
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico
National Institutes of Health. (2019.) “Sciatica.” medlineplus.gov/sciatica.html.
North American Spine Society. (2012.) “Clinical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Lumbar Disc Herniation with Radiculopathy.” www.spine.org/Portals/0/assets/downloads/ResearchClinicalCare/Guidelines/LumbarDiscHerniation.pdf
StatPearls [Internet]. (2020) “Anatomy, Sciatic Nerve.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482431/
StatPearls [Internet]. (2020) “Sciatica.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/
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