If your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, the condition is called Sciatica (pronounced si-ad-i-ka). The pain can be intense! It often follows the path of the nerve down the back of your legs and thighs, ankle, foot and toes, but it can also radiate to your back. Along with burning, sharp pains, you may also feel nerve sensations such as pins-and-needles, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations, or tenderness. Ironically, your leg may also feel numb.

To complicate matters, although Sciatica pain is usually in the back of the legs or thighs, in some people it can be in the front or the side of the legs, or even in the hips. For some, the pain is in both legs – Bilateral Sciatica!

The quality of pain may vary. There may be constant throbbing, but then it may lessen for hours or even days. It may ache or be knife-like. Sometimes postural changes, like lying down or changing positions, affect the pain, and sometimes they don’t. In severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of reflexes or even a wasting of your calf muscles. For Sciatica sufferers, a good night’s sleep may be a thing of the past. Simple things like walking, sitting, or standing up can be difficult or impossible.

Sciatica is most often caused by inflammation of the disc.  Common descriptions could be bulging, protrusion, or herniation of the disc.  If you squeezed a jelly doughnut, the jelly would leak out of the hole.  This is somewhat similar to what happens to a disc.  The disc material then compresses the exiting nerve root and creates the symptoms along the path of the nerve.  This can start at the lower back and travel all the way down the leg and into the foot and toes.  The area involved depends on which nerve root is compressed.

There are very specific therapies which need to be done, in a specific order, that will create the best long-term outcome when treating Sciatica.

First and foremost, one of the best and most well researched treatments is Spinal Decompression Therapy.  You can read more about this therapy by clicking on the Degenerative Disc page. I have used Decompression Therapy in my practices for almost a decade, and the results have been amazing to say the least.  In short, spinal decompression is designed to create a negative pressure within the disc.  In fact, it is estimated that a negative 180 systolic pressure is created. This negative pressure can “suck” the disc material, impinging the sciatic nerve, back to where it belongs away from the nerve.  Once the disc is off the nerve and the pain is dramatically decreased, or gone all together, it is now time to move on to phase 2.  The work is actually just beginning.

The next aspect involves proper bio-mechanics or alignment.  Many times, the disc will become inflamed due to abnormal stress over time.  The number one reason for this stress is poor bio-mechanics.  This is similar to a car out of alignment.  The poor alignment will prematurely and unevenly wear out the tires due to abnormal stress over time.  In the case of Sciatica, we will re-align the spine, if necessary.  If you notice poor posture habits in you or the person with back problems/sciatica, you definitely have poor bio-mechanics.

Finally, weak core muscles are at the root of most back pain.  These deep core muscles, if weak will not properly protect the spine and discs.  This will cause premature breakdown or degeneration, and will not allow the disc to properly heal.

Without following Decompression Therapy with correction of spinal biomechanics and strengthening weak core muscles, (the causes of the problem in the first place) the chance of the Sciatica repeating is very high.  In fact, this is why spinal surgery has such a poor outcome.  The doctors do a good job of fixing the disc, but never address the reason why it became injured in the first place.  Understanding this concept is key to long-term health of the spine.

In addition, we have also found a “misfiring” of the brain occurring in many acute and chronic pain patients. There are three parts to the brain stem: top, middle, and lower. The mesencephalon is the top part of the brain stem. A high output of the mesencephalon will cause an increased pulse and heart rate, inability to sleep or waking up from fitful sleep, urinary tract infection, increase warmth or sweating, and sensitivity to light.

Along with a high mesenphalic output, the sciatica patient may have a decreased output of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is in the back part of the brain, and it controls all of the involuntary spinal musculature. The right brain controls the left side of the body, and the left brain controls the right side. If the patient is experiencing pain on one side of the body, the opposite brain may be firing at an abnormally high rate. In order for a patient to perceive pain, an area of the brain must fire at a higher frequency of firing. If the pain is bilateral or on both sides, there may be different central structures involved such as the brain stem or cerebellum. It is my job to determine which aspect of the central nervous system is not working properly. No matter what the condition, it is imperative that the doctor performs a thorough and comprehensive exam to determine the exact nature of the patient’s condition.

For a reduced cost ($275 value for $77) evaluation and Report of Findings, please call Janelle @ 714 241-9355.