Understanding Sciatica: Causes and Symptoms

Sciatica affects millions of people worldwide. It's characterized by pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica commonly affects just one side of your body; however, it is possible for it to involve both sides.


Causes of Sciatica


There are many possible causes of sciatic pain. One cause is nerve compression due to lumbar disc injury. The discs create a cushion between the vertebrae, but an injured disc can irritate the nerve roots, resulting in sciatica. Other causes can include lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, muscular tension in the buttocks, or pregnancy.


Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica is typically characterized by lower back pain that extends through the hip and buttock and down one leg. The pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's also likely to be worse when you sit, cough, or sneeze.


The Role of a Chiropractor in Managing Sciatica

Chiropractors are health care professionals who perform adjustments to the spine and other joints of the body. The goal is to alleviate pain, improve function, and support the body's natural ability to heal itself. They can play a significant role in managing sciatic pain.

A chiropractor will complete a medical history and physical examination. The chiropractor may check your posture, look for signs of injury, assess your spine, test your reflexes and muscle strength, and perform orthopedic exams to help determine the cause of your pain.

Once the cause is identified, chiropractors typically focus on three main treatment areas: spinal adjustments, manual therapy, and therapeutic exercises. The goal of such therapy is to restore spinal joint motion, thereby improving function while decreasing pain and inflammation.


Chiropractic Treatments for Sciatica


Spinal Adjustments


One of the main treatments a chiropractor uses is spinal adjustments. These adjustments introduce motion into restricted spinal joints. Additionally, the adjustments activate receptors in the spinal joints which send signals to the brain resulting in a decrease in pain.


Manual Therapy


Manual therapy can also be used to relieve the symptoms of sciatica. This might include massage therapy, stretching, and resistance techniques. These treatments aim to increase circulation, reduce swelling and inflammation related to sciatica, and promote recovery.


Therapeutic Exercises

Chiropractors also commonly recommend therapeutic exercises. These exercises can help increase core strength to stabilize the body which can decrease low back pain and help to prevent future injury.


Benefits of Using a Chiropractor for Sciatica Treatment


Non-Invasive and Drug-Free

One of the main benefits of chiropractic treatment is that it's non-invasive and drug-free. This is especially important for people who want to avoid the risks associated with surgery and the side effects of medications.


Personalized Treatment

Another advantage is that chiropractors provide personalized treatment. They consider your complete health history, along with your specific symptoms, physical condition, and lifestyle, before developing a treatment plan. This personalized care can increase the effectiveness of the treatment and promote faster recovery.


Preventive Care

Lastly, chiropractors focus on preventive care. Besides treating your symptoms, they also focus on preventing future episodes of sciatica. This is achieved by teaching patients how to manage their health, and by recommending exercise and lifestyle changes.



Sciatica pain can be debilitating, but there are treatment options available. A chiropractor can play a crucial role in managing sciatic pain, providing non-invasive, personalized, and preventive care that addresses the root cause of the pain. While every case is unique, many patients have found relief through chiropractic treatment. If you suffer from sciatic pain or any type of low back pain, consider chiropractic care. It might be the first step toward a pain-free future.

For more on how a chiropractor can help with sciatic pain, visit Atlantic Chiropractic Associates at our Milford, Georgetown, or Lewes, Delaware offices. Call (302) 309-9900 to schedule an appointment today.

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