Radiculopathy: Common Causes and Chiropractic Treatment

Many who have dealt with radiculopathy, which is pain or numbness extending down into the leg or arm caused by inflammation around the nerves in the neck or lower back, have found it to be a very painful and debilitating experience. The pain can be aggravated by standing, sitting, and laying down. Your daily activities are hampered, and you have to make adjustments in your routine. Pain medications can help to decrease the pain, but relief and full recovery can often be experienced with chiropractic treatment. That is exactly what you will find at Latimer Chiropractic in San Francisco, CA. Our experienced doctor and staff will help you through this painful situation.


What Exactly Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a specific radiculopathy that refers to a condition where the sciatic nerve is irritated. Usually, pressure from some source compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve causing pain in the lower back, buttock and leg.

Your sciatic nerve exits between openings in the spinal vertebrae in your lower back. It branches into two sections and travels through small passageways on either side of your pelvis and down the back of your legs. Any irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause it to become inflamed and painful. With a focused Chiropractic orthopedic and neurological examination, your chiropractor can usually determine the primary source of the nerve irritation. Then an appropriate treatment plan can be developed.  This is the first step to recovery.

Symptoms of sciatica:

  • Sharp pain in lower back, buttocks, and back of legs
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks and leg when changing form a sitting to a standing position.
  • Pain at times will be a burning sensation or tingling or numbness.
  • Numbness and muscle weakness in lower extremities 
  • Pain is often increased with sitting when a disc bulge is present

What Are Some Common Causes of Sciatic Radiculopathy:

  1. Herniated discs: A herniated disc happens when the soft gel interior of a spinal disc is forced through its hard outer layer. The bulging or herniated disc can cause irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Chiropractic adjustments help to relieve pressure on the discs and lessen the compression and irritation on the Sciatic Nerve.
  2. Misaligned vertebra: A vertebra that has moved out of alignment can narrow the opening between the vertebrae in the lower back where the nerve exits and irritate the sciatic nerve. The misalignment will have to be adjusted or moved back into its proper position. It may take more than several treatments to move the vertebra back into its normal position and reduce the pain and inflammation. Follow up stabilization exercises to strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles may be needed.
  3. Pelvic bones out of place: Misalignment of the pelvic bones creates muscle and nerve imbalance. The passageway through the pelvis that the nerve travels is small, so any movement can affect it. Your chiropractor can move your pelvis back into its proper alignment. 
  4. Lack of Physical conditioning, poor posture: Weak abdominal and back muscles, being overweight and poor postural habits can also contribute to low back misalignment and instability. Dr. Latimer gives all low back pain and sciatica patients instruction in proper posture and low back stretching and stabilization exercises.
  5. Muscle trauma and swelling: Muscle trauma can cause muscles to become constricted and tight. Swelling can also occur near the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve passes thru the Piriformis muscle located in the buttock, and contraction of this muscle can compress the Sciatic nerve.  Treatments such as ultrasound, myofascial therapy, laser therapy and low back stabilization exercises can help strengthen the muscles, and relieve inflammation and muscle spasm. 
  6. Other causes: Other less common causes include bone spurs, tumors on the lower spine, and neuropathy as a complication of diabetes. Your chiropractor will work with you on treatment options for any one of these causes. In some cases referral for additional advanced diagnostic testing to another medical specialty may be required. 

Expert Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica

You will find expert chiropractic treatment for sciatica at Latimer Chiropractic in San Francisco, CA. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, call our office to set up a consultation appointment. We will locate the source of your sciatica and put you on an effective recovery treatment. 

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