Sciatica Treatment in Singapore
Wondering if this radiating pain down your leg is sciatica or not? Characterized as a pain radiating from your lower back down your leg, sciatica is often the symptom of various spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis. Hence, while exercise does alleviate the severity of the sciatica, it does not address the root cause of sciatica. People most vulnerable to sciatica often include pregnant women, heavy lifters and people leading more sedentary lifestyles.
Read more to understand how chiropractic can help with sciatica.
Sciatica is one of the most common types of pain. Approximately 40% of people will experience it during their life. To help you better prepare for this, we have compiled a list of questions to get you informed.
- What is sciatica?
- What are the symptoms and effects of sciatica?
- Are you at the last stages of sciatica?
- Who are at risk of sciatica?
- What causes sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy?
- Is chiropractic safe for pregnant women with sciatica?
- How do I know if I have sciatica and not just regular low back pain?
- What are the treatment options for sciatica?
- How long does it take for sciatica to go away?
- Can exercise treat sciatica?
- How does chiropractic treat sciatica?
- When should I go for a sciatica check-up?
What is sciatica?
Your sciatic nerve is your body’s longest nerve, running from your spinal cord down to each leg. Sciatica is a sensation that refers to pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the nerve (your hips, buttocks, legs).
Sciatica is a symptom (not a condition by itself) of pressure on the nerve that is typically caused by herniated lumbar disc, narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis), spondylolisthesis, among others. Pregnancy is also another common cause of sciatica.
What are the symptoms and effects of sciatica?
Most of the time, you might experience the following effects of sciatica:
- Low back pain that radiates to the back of the leg
- Weakness in the leg
- Numbness & tingling in the leg
- Shooting and sharp pain when you walk
- Pain that is worse when you cough or sneeze
Usually, only one side of your body is affected. In the event that you feel shooting pain on both sides of your body, it might be the case of bilateral sciatica.
Bilateral sciatica is very rare and may occur due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae and the disc at several spine levels, or from serious conditions such as cauda equina syndrome.
Are you at the last stages of sciatica?
Sciatica can be acute or chronic. Unlike diseases (e.g. cancer), there are no stages to sciatica. However, if you are experiencing sharp or searing pain down your leg, are unable to flex your foot (e.g. walk on your heels), or are basically unable to walk without shedding a tear, it is time to get it checked.
Who are at risk of having sciatica?
- Pregnant women –The extra weight bearing during pregnancy adds pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Heavy lifters –Professions that require you to constantly lift heavy weights, increase the chance of developing back injuries.
- Sedentary lifestyles – Sedentary posture can lead to joint dysfunction. This bad posture can lead to spinal misalignment, especially when repeated daily over a prolonged period of time.
- Smokers – Studies have shown that people who have been smoking for more than 15 years are at greater risk of suffering from sciatica.
What causes sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy?
Sciatica occurs when the spine is compressed in some way. It pinches the sciatic nerve, causing inflammation, numbness, and pain. Typically, it’s a result of a herniated disc or an overgrowth of bone, called a bone spur, on your vertebrae.
Pregnancy also causes a form of spinal compression that can affect the sciatic nerve. When you’re pregnant, the body releases a hormone called relaxin. These hormones are designed to prevent your body from having contractions that can lead to premature birth and loosen the ligaments in your pelvis. Coupled with a growing uterus, this changes the center of gravity and may potentially pinch the sciatic nerve, resulting in shooting pains down the legs.
Sciatic sensations are common during your pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience regular bouts of lower back pain and sciatic problems. In fact, lower back pain and sciatic problems are quite common. Typically, sciatica is most intense in the third trimester – though it can occur at any stage of your pregnancy. Read more about how chiropractic can help pregnant ladies, and if it’s safe for pregnant ladies to get adjusted.
Is chiropractic safe for pregnant women with sciatica?
Yes, it is. Regular chiropractic adjustments realign the pelvis to create more space for the growing baby and to relieve sciatic pain. Studies have also shown that women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have on average, 31% shorter labor time.
How do I know I have sciatica and not just regular low back pain?
When you have a sciatica flare-up, the pain should typically radiate from your lower back down your leg. The pain can be sharp and cause you to feel pain when walking. You might also face difficulty with sitting for long periods, and experience pain when twisting, coughing, or sneezing.
When experiencing low back pain, the pain would normally not travel below the pelvis.
The connection between diabetes and sciatica
Often, people confuse sciatica and diabetic neuropathy as they share very similar symptoms. Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that occurs among diabetics. It is a serious and common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Similarly, diabetic neuropathy causes pain in your low back, hips, or legs, and numbness and tingling sensations. So how do I tell the difference between sciatica and diabetic neuropathy?
Thankfully, there are some key differences. Neuropathy symptoms usually start in your feet, while sciatica starts in your lower back. Also, sciatica feels worse in the morning because of the way we sleep. When we sleep in an awkward position, this puts pressure of our nerves, causing irritations that results in shooting pains when we wake up.
Regardless of whether your shooting pain begins from your feet or from your lower back, it’s good to get checked if you feel any of these pains. Chances are, there might be some nerves that are compressed along your spinal column that’s causing you these pains.
Chiropractic treatment applies a quick and gentle pressure to safely and effectively adjust the spine, and take the pressure of your nerves.
What are the treatment options for Sciatica?
Some non-invasive treatment options for sciatica are:
- Chiropractic adjustments: to address the cause of sciatica and restore balanced movement in the spine
- Heat/Ice pack: to alleviate leg pain during the initial episode
- Pain medication: (e.g. ibuprofen) to reduce inflammation associated with the irritation of the nerve
- Exercise and stretching: to improve flexibility of your spine
When coping with shooting pains, you may be tempted to reach for an over-the-counter pain reliever. However, While addressing the pain helps in the short run, it is important to seek proper help to treat the cause of your sciatica in the long run. We have helped many with sciatica get better through chiropractic adjustments.
How long does it take for sciatica to go away?
The good news is that for many sciatica should respond well with self-care. Resting for a couple of days and over-the-counter medication can help to reduce inflammation.
However, if your pain has not responded to other treatments and is persisting, this could be a sign of an underlying problem with your spinal alignment.
Can exercise treat sciatica?
A variety of exercises can help strengthen your core and improve flexibility of your lower spine. These in turn can help ease the pain of sciatica. However, it is unlikely that these will address the root cause of sciatica.
How does chiropractic treat sciatica?
Sciatica typically occurs when your L4, L5, or S1 nerve roots are affected.
This could be caused by a herniated disc (also known as “slipped disc”) that compresses directly on the nerve, or degeneration of tissues in the lumbar spine. Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) and spondylolisthesis (a small stress fracture causing one vertebra to slip forward on another) are also potential causes.
Chiropractic adjustments focus on restoring normal movement to the spine by removing physical misalignments in the spine which irritate the sciatic nerve.
Our chiropractors are trained to diagnose the cause of sciatica and recommend how to treat your pain.
When should I do a sciatica check-up?
If your pain has been persisting for more than a few days and is not responding well to home treatment or stretches, you should come in for a check-up. It is important to address the root cause of your pain to prevent it from worsening.
At Chiropractic Singapore, our chiropractors are trained to diagnose sciatica and recommend if and how chiropractic can help.
Note: The above information is not a substitute for a diagnosis or any form of medical care. Symptoms and treatments differ from person to person, and one should consult a chiropractor for an accurate diagnosis and recommendation.
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