“My doctor says the pain down my leg is sciatica. He says he can fix it with a shot, some rest and some pills. But I can’t take time off from work and I’m not so sure about getting a shot in my back…… But, What else can I do?” As chiropractors with 36 years of practice we have heard this a thousand times from patients seeking non-drug treatments for this common symptom. And because we were both patients before we became doctors we have learned what works best and gives the best relief. Lying down, taking drugs and getting a shot of cortisone does not change the reason why you got your pain. And the dangerous shots have only an 18% chance of decreasing your pain. Luckily most sciatica sufferers can find our natural sciatica treatments right here in Peabody, MA. Here is a little more about what sciatica is and what can be done to help it.
What is Sciatica really?
Sciatica is actually a name of a symptom, not a diagnosis of the cause of the problem. The word sciatica describes a pain that can run from the lower back down the buttock, back of the thigh, over the calf and down to the foot. The pain can be in any one of those places or combination of those places. So, it could be in your buttock and calf but not your thigh. Or it may be in the foot and thigh but not the buttock or calf. You can see why it may be confusing. Actually true sciatica is due to an irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is made up of three nerve roots that exit your spinal cord in your lower back. These nerve roots then combine into the big sciatic nerve. This nerve runs through the buttock and down the back of your thigh and calf to your foot. A hurt sciatic nerve can cause pain and/or muscle weakness and/or numbness or tingling in the buttock, hamstrings, lower leg, ankle, foot, and/or toes.
What causes Sciatica?
The most common causes include:
- A stuck sacroiliac joint with a trigger point in your quadratus lumborum or piriformis muscle.
- A short leg with a flat foot causing slow changes in the way your joints work until you have first stiffness then pain.
- Compression of one or more of the nerve roots at the spine due to arthritis, bone spurs or disc bulges
- Pressure on the nerve due to spasm of buttock muscles
- Direct damage to the nerve like when falling on a hard rock on your buttock
- Tension on the nerve when the low back joints or sacroiliac joints where your hips hook onto your spine cause swelling and muscle tightness in the area
- Diseases like diabetes causing nerve damage
Non-drug natural sciatica treatments
The type of natural sciatica treatment of course would depend on the cause.
- Chiropractic adjustments to free up stuck joints that can aggravate the nerve
- Foot inserts to correct for a short leg and flat foot made from an impression of your foot. These correct foot imbalances that are causing stress on the structures around the sciatic nerve. Feet that roll in or out and muscle imbalances (too tight or too weak) can cause stress on the sciatic nerve.
- Ultrasound therapy using high frequency sound waves is used to:
- lessen swelling of swollen discs,
- break up arthritic stiffness in the spine
- relax muscle tension around the sciatic nerve
- Muscle therapies like Graston work or fascial manipulation to free muscles of tight painful areas that can radiate a lot of pain.
- Exercises and stretches to correct postural imbalances like
- tight buttock and hamstring muscles,
- weak back muscles,
- slouching posture,
- weak abdominal muscles, etc.
- Nutrition information to speed healing
Nutrition for Sciatica Causes
- Nutrients that feed the nerve what it needs to heal. Some common nerve healing nutrients are:
- B vitamins,
- fish oil,
- alpha lipoic acid
- Nutrients to shrink swollen discs such as proteolytic enzymes, boswellia
- Nutrients to slow disc and joint degeneration such as Glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid
- Foods to encourage healthier joints with more hyaluronic acid include:
- Bone Broth: Eating bone broth is your best bet when it comes to hyaluronic acid. “Because simmering the bones in water over a period of 24 hours, leaches nutrients, including hyaluronic acid, from the bones and adds them to the water. (Think of home made chicken soup)
- Starchy Root Vegetables : These foods include potatoes, sweet potatoes and other tubers such as jicama and Jerusalem artichoke.
- Fruits: Citrus fruits all contain naringenin, which inhibits the breakdown of hyaluronic in the body. In addition to fruits like oranges and grapefruits, tomatoes and bananas contain naringenin as well.
- Leafy Greens: Foods like leafy greens contain magnesium, which is a necessary catalyst to help with hyaluronic production in the body. Other foods that are high in magnesium include avocado, nuts, fruits and seeds. Salads loaded with all these ingredients are a great way to boost magnesium content while getting your fair share of other nutrients as well.
- Almonds and cashews for their magnesium levels needed to make hyaluronic acid
As you can see, there are many aspects of a person’s health to take into consideration if we are to correct a cause of the sciatica so that it does not keep coming back. Many of these natural sciatica treatments are simply life style changes that not only help with sciatica but also improve the health of your whole body.
So for help determining the cause of your pain and then choosing the right natural sciatica treatments for you right here in Peabody, MA , give us a call today at 978-535-6155 for a convenient appointment.