Sciatica and Lower back pain

Sciatica or pain in the back of the leg is a common condition when someone consults a Chiropractor. Sciatica refers to a pain which follows the course of the sciatic nerve down the back of the thigh and into the lower leg. The pain of sciatica may be felt as far down as the foot. Several types of back pain may cause sciatica. One of the key factors in back pain is if the sciatica travels past the knee. If the pain travels past the knee then it may be more likely that the pain originates from the disc. An MRI is the preferred method to visualize the disc but is generally reserved for those who cannot get relief after 30 days of conservative care including Chiropractic. The prefered test used by Chiropractors to determine if someone has a herniated disc is the straight leg raise test. In this test the person lies on their back and one leg is raised while straight. If sciatic pain is caused then a condition effecting the disc is suspected. Other forms of the straight leg raise may be performed while sitting.
Sciatica caused by a disc problem usually results from the nerves being effected as they leave the spine. The concept of a nerve being pinched by a bulging disc is a bit oversimplistic but is the general case. Some lines of though also contend that inflammation caused by the disc problem irritate the sciatic nerve and that direct compression is not the cause.
Most often those suffering from disc caused sciatica have a history of multiple bouts of back pain that have resolved without any leg pain.
Once disc material has herniated out of the disc it does not go back into the disc. It has been theorized that discs may cause sciatica both by directly compressing the nerves to the legs and by causing a type of inflammtion. It is now thought that herniated discs have a natural course of shrinkage and self reduction in size. It has also been observed that symptoms may resolve even when the size of the disc herniation has not been reducted. Disc herniations are quite common and occur in people who have no symptoms of a disc herniation including back pain and sciatica.
Dr. Tom Etter is a Chiropractor with over ten years of practice experience. Dr. Etter’s Chiropractic practice focus is back pain, neck pain, sciatica, whiplash and sports injury. Etter Chiropractic serves Olathe, Kansas, Lenexa, Kansas, Overland Park, Kansas and the surrounding areas.

About drtom

I help people through chiropractic care and acupuncture.
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