The most common reason people visit their Chiropractor is more than likely back pain, although leg, knee and foot pain probably come second. But most are surprised that the root of the pain down your leg or in your foot can be in your lower back. This pain is caused by an underlying medical problem related to your lumbar spine and it triggers the symptoms of sciatica.
These symptoms include to a more or lesser degree, pain along the sciatic nerve which can then shoot all the way down your leg into your foot. With sciatica, the underlying medical cause needs to be fully understood, since proper and effective Chiropractic treatment will address the root causes of the pain and then help to relieve acute symptoms.
When the nerves in the lumbar or lower back are compressed, the outcome is sciatica or for the clinical definition, lumbar radiculopathy, and the causes of this painful condition can include:.
- herniated lumbar disc
- Isthmic spondylolisthesis
- degenerative lumbar disc
- spinal lumbar stenosis
This is when the soft inner disc tissue leaks out (herniates) through the fibrous outer layer and pinches or aggravates the connecting nerve root. This is often called a slipped or protruding, bulging or ruptured disc and can cause sciatica.
When a small stress fracture causes one vertebra to slip forward onto another one it causes the nerve to become compressed and sciatic pain results.
Degenerated lumbar disc
Most people over 35 have some level of degeneration of the discs due to age and wear and tear. But for some, this degeneration can cause the nerve root to become irritated and inflamed; this results in sciatic pain. Also, bone spurs can develop through the degeneration of the spine and these spurs can press on the nerve and result in sciatica.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
The way this condition causes sciatica is by a narrowing of the spinal canal. Lumbar spinal stenosis is relatively common in people aged over 60. It’s part of the aging process and causes an overgrowth of soft tissue, enlarged facet joints and a protruding disc which puts too much pressure on the nerve roots, hence sciatica.
Your Chiropractor can tell you more about these conditions and can ease the symptoms associated with sciatica and lower back pain.