Have you ever experienced a sharp or stabbing pain that seems to start in one place and then radiate into other areas? When a nerve is compressed or damaged, it can cause pain that shoots through to other parts of the body that the nerve controls. One of the most common nerves that does this is the sciatic nerve. Located at the base of your spine, the sciatic nerve can cause this shooting, stabbing pain that starts in your lower back and extends down the back of your leg. Common causes of this type of pain include car accident injuries like spinal injuries to the lower back. Sciatica refers to pain when the sciatic nerve is aggravated or damaged, and a chiropractor can help alleviate your pain for good.
How a Car Accident Can Cause Sciatica
You might be wondering how can a chiropractor fix sciatica when they are more commonly known for popping or cracking backs. The great news is that chiropractors actually work with your whole musculoskeletal system, including bones, muscles, soft tissues, and joints, along with your nervous system. The spinal column houses vertebrae, spinal discs, and a whole bunch of nerves that send signals to the rest of your body. Here are three examples of how a car accident can negatively impact the sciatic nerve and cause you pain:
A herniated disc refers to a spinal disc that becomes cracked or torn. When the tough outer shell of a spinal disc is damaged, the gel-like inside of the disc can spill out and put pressure on nearby nerves. A herniated disc in the lower back can compress the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica.
A bulging disc refers to a spinal disc that has flattened or is bulging on one side. A healthy spinal disc fits neatly in between two vertebrae. When damaged, these spinal discs can bulge out of their normal space and aggravate nearby nerves. A bulging disc in your lower back can lead to sciatica.
Inflammation of soft tissues like the muscles in your lower back can also aggravate the sciatic nerve. Soft tissue injuries to the lower back can cause swelling and inflammation, which can cause muscles and other soft tissues to encroach on nerves and pressure or damage them. Swelling and inflammation in the lower back can lead to sciatica.
How a Chiropractor Can Help with Sciatic Nerve Pain
Sciatica can be uncomfortable at best and debilitating at worst. Here’s how a chiropractor uses all-natural and non-invasive techniques to relieve your pain gently and effectively:
Your chiropractor will first need to diagnose the cause of your pain appropriately. A physical examination of your lower back can help identify any misalignments in the spine that may contribute to your pain. Your chiropractor may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests like an X-ray or CT scan to get a better look at your lower back and rule out other potential causes of your back pain.
Chiropractic adjustments are safe and gentle ways of resolving misalignments in your spine that may be exacerbating your pain. Chiropractors use a hands-on approach to identify any misalignments that might be putting too much pressure on nearby nerves, like the sciatic nerve.
Massage therapy can also help in relieving your sciatic pain by promoting deep muscle relaxation and the release of the body’s natural pain killers called endorphins. Chiropractic massage therapy goes beyond simply addressing sore, tense muscles and actually works to soothe and heal your pain.
Hot and Cold Therapies
Applying hot and cold therapies can also help alleviate your sciatica pain. Cold compresses help reduce swelling and inflammation in an area, while also providing you with a temporary numbing effect that is a natural and soothing pain reducer. Warm compresses help soothe damaged or aching muscles and improve circulation to the area.
Stretches and Exercises
Your chiropractor may also talk you through stretches and exercises to help heal your sciatica pain. A sciatica chiropractor will walk you through movements and motions that relieve pressure and stress on your lower back. These types of stretches and exercises are often things you can continue to practice at home, too.
If you are looking for a chiropractor to help with sciatica nerve pain, then visit your Lithia Springs chiropractor at AICA Orthopedics.