Sciatica is a commonly used term referring to pain that is shooting down one or both legs as a result of nerve irritation. Irritation of the nerve can result from several mechanisms, but most commonly is due to a disc bulge or bone spur that is pinching the nerve in the spinal canal. However, as the nerves exit the spine and travel down the leg they may also be compressed by tight muscles in the buttock, back of the thigh, and around the ankle. The piriformis is a muscle in the buttock region that is commonly involved in this type of situation.
Treatment for sciatica varies greatly and depends upon the cause and location of the nerve irritation. If the nerve is being compressed in the spine, chiropractic adjustments may be performed which have been shown through research to decrease sciatic pain. If the nerve is being compressed by muscle, therapeutic massage or other types of muscle therapies, such as A.R.T., will be performed to decrease irritation and tightness. A type of therapy called nerve flossing will be utilized to restore proper flexibility of the nerve if excess tension on the nerve was detected during examination.
Pain in the leg that appears without a known cause, such a sports-related injury, is usually due to sciatica which requires a prompt and thorough evaluation and proper treatment. At Motus Integrative Health our chiropractors have extensive training in the diagnosis and management of sciatica and other nerve-related disorders.
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