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How to Relieve Sciatic Pain

By Sara Butler

Your sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in your body. The nerve runs from your spine down your legs and if it becomes compressed or pinched at any point, it can cause some pretty significant pain. The radiating pain caused by sciatic pain is called radiculopathy and if you suffer from it, then there are treatments available to help. Here’s what you need to know about sciatica and how your chiropractor can help.

Why Sciatica Happens

The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc. That’s a condition in which the discs between the bones in your spine becomes damaged, tearing or cracking at the outer layer and allowing the soft, inner core to spill out into the same space as the sciatic nerve. Symptoms usually clear up with treatment in a couple of months, but sometimes the pain can go on for quite some time, even with treatment.

Chiropractic Care

Many people who can’t find relief from sciatica pain with other treatments do find relief with chiropractic care. In a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 120 people with sciatica who saw the chiropractor three to four times per week found relief from their sciatica symptoms in the study, with benefits that lasted up to one year.

Chiropractic care allows the body to return to normal function, which then allows it to work to heal itself. It helps to create an environment in the body that promotes healing.

Ice and Heat

The sciatic nerve is located deep in the leg and buttock, so ice or heat on the surface of the skin probably won’t do much to help reduce inflammation. But they can work as counterirritants. That means it gives your body input other than pain in the form of heat and cold to help reduce the pain you’re feeling. Try a heating pad or an ice pack for about 15 minutes once an hour and see if it helps you to better manage your sciatic pain.


The last thing you probably want to do when experiencing sciatic pain is to get up and get your body moving, but that’s exactly what you should do. Exercise helps to increase the flow of blood to the tissues in the affected area, helping to filter out the chemicals that are causing so much inflammation. Don’t go crazy, but do try to go for a 15- to 20-minute walk to help. If that’s too painful, then a low-impact exercise such as water aerobics or swimming can help.

Sciatic pain can be pretty terrible to experience, but with the help of your chiropractor, you may just find the natural relief you need!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Columbia, S.C.

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