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Sciatica Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Exercises for Relief

Anyone familiar with sciatica can agree that it’s hard to enjoy life when you have lower back and leg pain. One moment you’re having a wonderful time with your family and friends, then a few seconds later, you sit down, feeling sore and in terrible shape. This is just one of the many sad and quite unpleasant stories of patients going to a chiropractor for low back pain relief. Chances are, you too have plenty of unflattering, frustrating, and even horrible experiences because of sciatica and lower back pain. 

To help you manage your symptoms better, we came up with an in-depth guide on sciatica. Our discussion includes the main symptoms of sciatica, the risk factors, and the best remedies.

An Overview on Sciatica

Statistics from Harvard Health reveal that sciatica remains one of the most prevalent yet poorly understood causes of pain. It can occur in about 40 percent of the population, especially among aging individuals. Often, it also heavily impact individuals who already experience chronic or severe back pain.

The condition stems from compression, injury, or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which happens to be the body’s most extensive nerve bundle. This bundle of nerves runs from the lower back to each leg. As a result, when a person has sciatica, the painful and burning sensation tends to spread from the hips to the toes. 

Typically, back pain only affects one side of the body. But at times it is possible for the pain to occur in both legs or sides of the hips. If your sciatica is occurring in both of your legs you may struggle with additional concerns besides the stabbing or burning pain, such as weakness or loss of control of your lower body and urinary incontinence. Compared to the more common one-sided type, bilateral sciatica may require immediate medical attention. 

Possible Causes of Sciatica Onset 

A long list of things, including diseases, disorders, and injuries, can trigger sciatic pain. Here are some of the most common complaints of patients who seek a chiropractor for low back pain relief:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lower back or hip injury 
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Piriformis syndrome 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

Early diagnosis and proper management of these potential causes of back pain play a critical role in improving your overall condition. 

Symptoms of Sciatica

Common symptoms people are experiencing when they first visit a chiropractor for low back pain relief include:

  • Back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Painful buttocks
  • Numbness
  • A painful sensation on one side of the body
  • Tingling due to nerve compression or irritation

 

Who is at Risk for Developing Sciatica?

While sciatica is a highly common condition, it tends to occur more in certain groups of people. Below is a list of the identified risk factors for sciatica pain:

  • Family history of sciatica – If sciatica runs in your family, you might also develop this condition at one point in your life. Studies suggest that you might also have an increased risk of struggling with this condition if one or two of your family members have had herniated discs.  
  • Poor posture – Check out your posture when you sit or stand. Do you lean in too close or sway to one side of the body? Are you guilty of slouching? These bad habits could cause spinal misalignment that can impact your spinal cord, brainstem, and the tissues surrounding the affected area. 
  • Aging – Individuals in their late 30s often begin to experience bone and disc degeneration. As a result, the body’s structure weakens, posing risks for spine damage, poor posture, increased musculoskeletal pain, and worst – sciatica. 
  • Pregnancy – While having a baby is one of the most amazing miracles in life, it can also become a pain source for some women. Due to the child’s growing size and the expanding uterus, a pregnant woman’s sciatic nerve might get compressed or irritated.
  • Physical exertion due to manual work – Some workers tend to be more susceptible to pain disorders like back pain, such as construction, competitive sports, and the military. 

 

Managing Sciatica with Exercises

Although it’s quite common practice for people to attempt to use pain medications to manage sciatica symptoms, natural remedies such as sciatica exercises may provide relief without the side effects of medications. These are a natural and holistic way to reduce your symptoms. The best part is that you can readily do them while you’re in the comfort of your home.

  • Aerobic exercises – Aerobic workout including biking, jogging, and swimming are quite helpful in stimulating your body’s natural painkillers. It can help you alleviate pain without using a prescription.
  • Core strengthening exercises – Your core muscles, consisting of the abs, pelvic and back muscles, are crucial to your spinal column’s strength. It would be wise to include a core strengthening workout in your routine to prevent sciatica flare-ups or episodes.
  • The pigeon pose – If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, you may already know the pigeon pose. It’s handy in opening up the hips and relieving lower back pain.
  • Sitting spinal stretching – Another beneficial yet straightforward exercise for sciatica is the sitting spinal stretch. This removes pressure on the inflamed sciatic nerve and helps in restoring the normal alignment of the spine.

 

Chiropractor for Low Back Pain Relief

Besides doing the sciatica exercises we listed above, you can also try seeking NUCCA care for pain relief. It’s an approach used by many patients to effectively reduce the severity of their lower back and leg pain. The process involves making gentle and precise adjustments on the spine to restore normal alignment. In effect, this can help remove the undue stress on the sciatic nerve, which usually occurs as the body tries to compensate for the spinal misalignment.

Want to know more about this practical and holistic relief option for sciatica and lower back pain? Find a local NUCCA chiropractor for low back pain relief today and start your journey towards healing and recovery!

Find a NUCCA doctor in your area

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