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What You Don't Know About Sciatica

By Sara Butler

Sciatica is the way many people describe the pain they feel in their legs or buttocks, but what many people may think of sciatica may not be. There are many persistent myths and misinformation about sciatica, which is why, if you suspect you are experiencing it, you need to see your chiropractor for an accurate diagnosis. Here’s what you need to know about sciatica and how your chiropractor may be able to help.

What is Sciatica?

Your sciatic nerve is a large nerve that branches from your lower back, across your buttocks, and down each leg. Sciatica itself isn’t a disorder, but instead a set of symptoms used to diagnose the true disorder causing them. That means if you really want to resolve any leg or back pain you’re experiencing due to sciatica then you need to figure out what is causing those symptoms if you hope to find relief.

The More You Know

So, what can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve? There are several things that can cause you to experience sciatic pain, including:

  • Piriformis syndrome – Your piriformis muscle attaches your hip to your spine, and if it is tight then it can irritate the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms. Sometimes piriformis syndrome doesn’t actually involve your sciatic nerve at all, but the pain from it can do a good job of mimicking the symptoms!
  • Shortened hip flexors – If you spend a lot of time sitting, then it can shorter the flexor muscles in your hips. If your hip flexors are shortened then it can have a domino effect and actually “turn off” other muscles such as your glutes. Quite often, shortened hip flexors cause weak glutes, which can cause pain.
  • Nerve irritation – If your sciatic nerve is irritated from something as simple as sitting on your wallet for an extended amount of time, then you can experience pain, weakness or tingling anywhere between your lower back and big toe.

Sciatic pain isn’t something that develops overnight, even if it feels as if the symptoms come on suddenly. You may have a condition that has been brewing under the surface for months or even years before you begin to experience symptoms.

The best course of action if you’re experiencing classic symptoms of sciatica is to see your chiropractor so they can investigate and find the root cause of the pain and discomfort you are experiencing. They can then begin treating the problem and hopefully help you to find relief!

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