What is Sciatica

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The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. From the lower spine, the sciatic nerve splits into two branches, one for each leg, dividing again at the knee. Sensations and muscle control throughout the lower body can be traced through the sciatic nerve. Early signs of sciatica, as reported by early doctors of chiropractic, are tingling, stinging, burning sensations in the areas directly supplied by the sciatic nerve; i.e., hips, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet. Often, in cases later diagnosed as sciatica, there is a prolonged period of intermittent low back pain and muscle weakness that the patient probably ignores. However, a single careless movement or even bending the “wrong way” can trigger the sudden, intense shooting pain that is clear indication of sciatica. The nerve inflammation that results in sciatica’s pain is most frequently traced to faulty alignment of the vertebrae in the lower spine and improper mechanics of the lower spine and pelvis, which may lead to possible intervertebral disc lesions.

Sciatica can be brought on by a single accidental stress to the lower spinal-pelvic area or it may develop gradually from a pattern of stresses to the back. A job where one is constantly lifting and altering one’s posture to compensate for the weight being lifted makes a person more likely to develop the symptoms of sciatica. Occupations requiring constant sitting (such as office work and driving) may also cause similar back problems. Conservative treatment of choice should include proper rest, activity modification, and chiropractic rehabilitation to initially relieve pain then strengthen the involved area.

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