The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body. It starts off in the lower back and runs from each side of your spine, down through the buttock, back of the thigh, and into the foot. Sciatica, which causes radiating pain down the course of the nerve, can be extraordinarily painful. Causes include nerve root compression, arthritic changes within the spine, and a narrowing of the spinal canal.
Most doctors who treat sciatica focus on pain relief. While that might sound extremely appealing, especially if you’ve been crippled by it for a long time, this type of pain relief is often temporary. Because sciatica symptoms can be terrible one day and better the next, most doctors recommend over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatories to get through the worst days. If those fail to provide the necessary relief, prescription strength painkillers or muscle relaxants are usually the next line of defense.
From Symptom Chasing to True Sciatica Relief
There’s a decent chance that if you’ve suffered with bouts of sciatica, you’ve tried a few chiropractic visits. This often means that the chiropractor gave adjustments to the lower back, which is where the pain is located. However, what may have been overlooked is the fact that the issues in the lower back might be coming from primary problems that have occurred elsewhere in the spine.
Upper cervical chiropractic care looks at the alignment of the topmost vertebra in the spine, the atlas. If the atlas misaligns, it can create compensations throughout the entire length of the spine. This happens because when the atlas shifts, the entire spine has to move and shift in order to keep the head level. If that shifting pressure affects the sciatic nerve, a person can experience lower back pain with pain down the back of the leg. In more severe cases, it can even affect bowel and bladder function. When the atlas is realigned with a gentle upper cervical adjustment, the rest of the spine can also be brought back into its natural alignment. NUCCA, the adjusting technique we use in our practice, is extremely gentle, which requires none of the twisting, popping, or cracking that you might have experienced with a general chiropractic approach. Our adjustments are designed to stay in place for longer periods of time, giving your body the necessary time to heal naturally.