What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is any pain that occurs from the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back through the hips, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica is defined by a radiating pain that generally starts in the lower back and then runs down to the buttock and then to the back of the leg. While you might only feel pain in one or two of these areas, most commonly, you’ll feel it throughout the entirety of your back, hip, and leg area. Usually sciatica only affects one side of the body even though the nerve runs through both legs.
In addition to pain in these areas, sciatica can also bring about weakness, tingling, and numbness in the back, leg, or foot. Symptoms of sciatica are often worse when sitting for a long period of time, and the discomfort may intensify from abrupt movement, just as coughing or sneezing. Most cases of sciatica will fade and resolve over time, but it’s important to take care of your body when you’re experiencing symptoms of sciatica to ensure you don’t lose range of motion or experience any complications. If you feel sciatica pain after a car accident or other injury, or if you have problems controlling your bladder or bowels, it’s important to seek care from a doctor right away. Additionally, if sciatica pain comes on suddenly and is extremely severe, marked by extreme pain or weakness, you should also seek medical attention.
There are several treatment options available for sciatica pain, including chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, staying active, and using stretches to relieve sciatica pain. To learn more about how to stretch to relieve sciatica pain, read on to learn about what the sciatic nerve is and how a variety of treatments and exercises can help relieve sciatica pain.
What Is the Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and travels all the way down into the legs. It is one of the most important nerves for the lower half of the body and is the longest and widest nerve in the entire body. Its job is to supply information and sensation to the back of the thigh, the calf, the ankle, and the foot. It contains both sensory and motor neurons, meaning that it helps muscles to both move and feel. While you can damage the sciatic nerve, the most common problem with this nerve is pinching, often due to a herniated disc or skeletal misalignment. Since sciatica pain is often caused by an impingement of the nerve by another part of the body, the only true way to treat it is to get to the root cause of the problem.
Sciatica Pain Relief Treatment
When you’re looking for sciatica pain relief treatment, where do you go? The quickest and most effective way is to seek out comprehensive care from different specialists to get the most thorough and effective treatment for relieving your pain. A chiropractor, physical therapist, osteopath, and more can recommend the best possible treatment options for you and your situation to help you alleviate the pain and get the best kind of treatment possible.
As you search for sciatica treatment that’s right for you, consider the following sciatic pain treatment options that may be helpful for you in reducing your sciatic nerve pain.
Stretching + Yoga
While it seems simple on the surface, stretching and other select movement-based exercises (e.g., yoga) can be beneficial. As long as you know how to move correctly in your stretching exercises, you’ll be able to avoid triggering intense sciatic pain and can instead find more relief for the pain.
For example, avoid staying stationary for a long period of time and then moving abruptly, as this can trigger sciatic pain. Whenever you’re scrunching or shortening the spine, raising the legs up for an extended period of time, bringing the knees up, etc., you also run the risk of making sciatic pain worse.
By taking part in stretching and yoga can help you to create better and more natural posture habits in your body, which will help to reduce some of the severity of sciatic pain. You’ll also be reducing stiffness in your muscles as well as inflammation, which is a common source of pain.
How to Stretch to Relieve Sciatica Pain
Stretching is a great way to relieve sciatica pain, but you need to make sure you’re stretching properly so that you find relief and don’t further exacerbate the pain. The best types of stretches are ones that elongate the back and open the hips up. Here are the best stretches to relieve sciatica pain.
Sitting Pigeon Pose – Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Take one leg and put the ankle on the opposite knee. Lean forward and push your body towards your thigh, stretching the lower back and glutes. Repeat on the other side.
Sitting Spinal Stretch – Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you, with your toes pointing to the ceiling. Bend one leg and put your foot flat on the floor on the outside of the opposite leg. Place the elbow of the straight leg on the outside of the bent knee, and gently twist your body to the side of the bent leg.
Cobra or Modified Cobra – Lie on the floor face down, and put your hands, palm down, directly underneath your shoulders. Keeping your elbows close to your body and your feet pushed into the floor, begin straightening your arms and lifting your chest off the floor. Go as far as is comfortable and ensure you feel a stretch and not pain.
Knee to Opposite Shoulder – Lie on your back with your legs extended. Bend one leg and hold onto your knee, and then pull that leg across your body to the opposite side shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Standing Hamstring Stretch – While standing, put one foot on an elevated surface. Flex your foot and bend your upper body towards it slightly. Don’t go so far forward that you feel pain, but go far enough so that you feel a good stretch.
Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and then release. Repeat as needed, being careful not to overdo it or exacerbate your sciatica pain. Each stretch should bring relief and help alleviate the pain of sciatica.
This is another non-surgical sciatica treatment solution for dealing with pain. Massage and physical therapy for sciatica work by relaxing and opening up the muscles and tissues with the body, and especially the affected areas where you’re experiencing sciatica pain. Massages can also cause an increase in the release of endorphins, which not only help you feel good, but also act as natural “pain medication” produced from our own bodies.
Not every single option will be the one cure-all solution for sciatica pain relief, so make sure to talk with your sciatica chiropractor about the available options and which is best for you and your situation. Sometimes a combination of different sciatica treatment may be the most ideal solution for you, which is why it’s important to be open to trying different treatment methods to learn what works for you.
By working with a professional sciatica chiropractor, you can find sciatica pain relief treatment by manually adjusting your spine. Sometimes our spines can get misaligned, which causes unwanted pain, but having them manually realigned can prevent further issues and will help to alleviate any pain by correcting the problem at the source.
Chiropractic Care for Sciatica Pain
Sciatica is unfortunately not an uncommon experience that many people will go through at some point in their lives. Nearly half of all people get sciatica and have to find sciatica treatment. While the severity of sciatica pain will vary from person to person, anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause sudden pain that will course through someone’s back, buttock, or thigh.
Some people may experience mild discomfort, while others may feel a sharp burning sensation, and still others might experience extreme pain. Depending on the individual, they may also experience tingling sensations and a general weakness or numbness as a result.
Because the sciatic nerve originates in the lower back, the proper alignment of the spine directly affects it. If a vertebra near the sciatic nerve is twisted, tilted, or shifted even the slightest bit, it can put pressure on that nerve, which results in pain and discomfort. Sometimes a spinal disc near the sciatic nerve will be slightly herniated or bulging on one side, which can lead to pressure on or pinching of the sciatic nerve. A gentle and specific adjustment to the lumbar spine near the origin point of the sciatic nerve can bring about immense relief, sometimes even immediately.
One of the easiest ways to begin treating sciatica pain is to simply keep moving as much as possible. The more stationary you remain, the tenser your muscles become and the more inflamed certain areas of your body are. When you are remaining relatively active and use targeted exercises, it will loosen up those areas and reduce the amount of pain you normally would exhibit by staying still. You should, of course, move with caution if you’re experiencing sciatica pain as abrupt movements can make the pain worse. But light stretching and careful movement is a great way to increase blood flow to the area to heal your body from the inside out. When you’re not experiencing sciatica pain, a consistent and moderate regimen of exercise and physical activity is a great way to keep from dealing with sciatica pain again in the future.
Locations for a Chiropractor for Sciatica
Getting sciatica pain treatment is not difficult when you know who to call and where help is available. NCHS is a large network of healthcare locations that specialize in providing professional-grade treatment without attaching the same price tag of other healthcare organizations like hospitals, emergency rooms, and some doctor’s offices.
We have two primary locations that specialize in treatment from a chiropractor, including sciatica treatment: San Marcos and Oceanside (Loma Alta) health centers.
- 150 Valpreda Road, San Marcos, CA 92069
- (760) 736-6767
- 619 Crouch St., Suite 100, Oceanside, CA 92054
- (760) 736-6767
- 2210 Mesa Drive, Suite #300, Oceanside, CA 92054
- (760) 736-6767
- 1130 2nd Street, Encinitas, CA 92024
- (760) 736-6767
- 1675 N Perris Blvd, Suite G1, Perris, CA 92571
- (951) 956-2400
Give us a call today to learn more about how you can get sciatica treatment and how our teams at NCHS will provide you the best solution for any type of pain you’re experiencing. Don’t force yourself to endure the pain; get treatment today!