The sciatic nerve is a major nerve in the lower limb. It is a fairly flat band that is thick and about 2cm wide. It is the biggest single nerve within the body and it originates from the lower spine running down the back of both legs. The nerve controls the back, knee, and the lower leg muscles. In addition, it gives sensation to the sole of the foot, part of the lower leg, as well as back of the thigh. The sciatic nerve originates from the spinal nerves L4 through S3.
Sciatica, Sciatic neuralgia, sciatic neuritis, or Lumbar radiculopathy refers to weakness, pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg. Its cause is primarily pressure on the sciatic nerve or its injury. It is not a medical disorder on its own but rather a symptom of a different medical condition.
How It Occurs
As mentioned earlier, injury of the sciatic nerve or even pressure exerted on it can lead to sciatica. Two nerves, which comprise sciatic nerve, exist (Tibial & Peroneal nerves). The two are made of the nerve roots L4-S3. This means that if any of such levels suffers an injury then it could contribute towards dysfunction. Sciatic nerve travels between the Superior Gemellus muscles and the Piriformis muscles. Due to this connection, if the sacrum, pelvis, and lumbar spine biomechanically shift then pressure will be exerted to the sciatic nerve.
A trapped nerve in the lumbar spine can affect the sciatic nerve. Disc herniation (slipped disc) can pressure the lower lumbar nerve roots forming the sciatic nerve. Tightening of the piriformis muscle (piriformis syndrome) may irritate the sciatic nerve. Low back or buttock muscle knots (trigger points) could cause pain sensation down the leg (referral), which mimics sciatica.
The symptoms include pain of the lower part of the back, pain in the buttock as well as numbness, and weakness or pain in different parts of the leg as well as the foot. One can as well feel “needles or pins” sensation or tingling as well as trouble controlling or moving the leg. Normally, the symptoms will manifest on a single side of the body. Pain could radiate on top of the knee, however, this is not always the case.
The Chiropractic approach efficiently treats the above-described problem. Dr. James Dawes, a chiropractor at Stones River Chiropractic in Murfreesboro, TN can integrate chiropractic adjustments to address the various problems present. There are a number of types of adjustments that can be utilized to optimize the comfort of the patient and the varying degree of symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments work towards taking the pressure off the nerves thus reducing the symptom of sciatica.
To check out Dr. Dawes’ video on Sciatic click here.