Sciatica is inflammation of your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It originates in the lower back from between five vertebrae, levels from L4 to S3. These five nerves come together and run down your leg as one big nerve called the sciatic nerve. If you get pressure on your sciatic nerve from a herniated disc, this is called sciatica and you will have numbness and/or tingling below the knee often in the foot or lower leg. Most of the time the pressure or pinch will be at the L4-L5 disc or the L5-S1 disc. You may also have pain in the lower back or upper leg. Other causes of sciatica include degenerative disc disease and stenosis. Your doctor may order x-rays or a MRI to evaluated your lower back condition.
You will know if you are having pressure on your sciatic nerve if you are having low back pain and numbness or tingling in your leg below your knee. Dr Hermann can often tell which level of your sciatic nerve is irritated by exactly where the symptoms are in your leg. Different parts of the leg are supplied by different spinal levels. By examining reflexes, muscle strength or weakness and skin sensation, usually a spinal level can be determined without an MRI. Schedule an exam and lets get rid of that painful sciatic pain.
Treatment for sciatica can include manual manipulation, physical therapy and acupuncture. A specialized chiropractic technique called cox technique or flexion distraction is very effective against sciatica. Some exercises can stretch the sciatic nerve and should not be performed until the leg symptoms settle down.
Spinal manipulation is very effective at relieving sciatica. Therapeutic exercise and physical therapy may also be used to help sciatica along with nutrition to support the underlying tissue. See home page for new patient specials.