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The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from your pelvis, through your hip area and buttocks and down each leg. The sciatic nerve branches into smaller nerves as it travels down the legs providing feeling to your thighs, legs, and feet as well as controlling many of the muscles in your lower legs. The term sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of this nerve.
Sciatica is actually a sign that you have an underlying problem putting pressure on a nerve in your lower back. The most common cause of this nerve compression is a bulging or herniated lumbar disc. Piriformis syndrome is another common cause of sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that lies directly over the sciatic nerve. If this muscle becomes tight or if you have a spasm in this muscle, it puts pressure directly on the sciatic nerve. Occasionally, sciatic pain in men is caused by sitting on a wallet.
Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. Sciatica may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the affected leg. This pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating discomfort. Sometimes it may feel like a jolt or electric shock. Sciatic pain often starts gradually and intensifies over time. It's likely to be worse when you sit, cough or sneeze.
The vast majority of the time, sciatic pain can be relieved through a combination of stretches, deep tissue massage of the piriformis muscle and spinal care. Occasionally, in cases where chronic spasm of the low back or piriformis muscles is causing the sciatic pain, it may be necessary to do a procedure called a trigger point injection, where a medical pain specialist injects a small amount of anesthetic directly into a spasmed muscle to break the spasm cycle. However, this is typically not necessary.
At the Atlas Wellness Centre in Bedford we have many experts that specialise in natural interventions for a variety of conditions. Our team is made up of two former doctors of chiropractic who have gone on to specialise in advanced techniques to rehabilitate spinal abnormalities/injuries, nerve damage, and offer first class education in nutrition and exercise science all of which are necessary to fully reverse the damage that causes sciatica. We also have one chiropractor, one sports therapist and three massage therapists on the team, all of whom work as a team to reverse the root cause of sciatica. Contact our clinic today!
A nonsurgical approach to the management of patients with lumbar radiculopathy secondary to herniated disk: a prospective observational cohort study with follow-up. Donald R. Murphy, DC, Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, and Ericka E. McGovern, DC. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2009 Nov-Dec;32(9):723-33.
Chiropractic treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis: a review of the literature. Kent Stuber DC, MSc, Sandy Sajko DC, MSc, Kevyn Kristmanson DC. J Chiropr Med. 2009 Jun;8(2):77-85.
Chiropractic management of low back pain and low back-related leg complaints: a literature synthesis. Dana J. Lawrence, DC, MMedEd, William Meeker, DC, MPH, Richard Branson, DC, Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD, Jeff R. Cates, DC, MS, Mitch Haas, DC, MA,f Michael Haneline, DC, MPH, Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD, William Updyke, DC, Robert Mootz, DC, John J. Triano, DC, PhD, and Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Nov-Dec;31(9):659-74.
Chiropractic outcomes managing radiculopathy in a hospital setting: a retrospective review of 162 patients. Kim D. Christensen DC, DACRB, CCSP, CSCS, Kirsten Buswell DC. J Chiropr Med. 2008 Sep;7(3):115-25.
Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations. Valter Santilli, MD, Ettore Beghi, MD, Stefano Finucci, MD. The Spine Journal 6 (2006) 131-137.
High-velocity low-amplitude spinal manipulation for symptomatic lumbar disk disease: a systematic review of the literature. Anthony J. Lisi, DC, Erica J. Holmes, DC, and Carlo Ammendolia, DC. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005 Jul-Aug;28(6):429-42.
Biomechanical and neurophysiological responses to spinal manipulation in patients with lumbar radiculopathy. Christopher J. Colloca, DC, Tony S. Keller, PhD, and Robert Gunzburg, MD, PhD. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004 Jan;27(1):1-15.
The Effects of Mild Compression on Spinal Nerve Roots with Implications for Models of Vertebral Subluxation and the Clinical Effects of Chiropractic Adjustment. R. Scott Alderson, D.C.1, George J. Muhs, D.C., DABCN, CCN. J. Vertebral Subluxation Res., 4(2), 2001.
Resolution of low back and radicular pain in a 40-year-old male United States Navy Petty Officer after collaborative medical and chiropractic care. Gregory R. Lillie DC, MS. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine (2010) 9, 17-21.
Chiropractic management of a 47-year-old firefighter with lumbar disk extrusion. Schwab MJ. J Chiropr Med. 2008 Dec;7(4):146-54.
Resolution of Chronic Back, Leg and Ankle Pain Following Chiropractic Intervention and the Use of Orthotics. Robert B. Mattson, D.C. J. Vertebral Subluxation Res. March 20, 2008.
Chiropractic treatment of a pregnant patient with lumbar radiculopathy. Ralph A. Kruse DC, DABCO, Sharina Gudavalli DC, Jerrilyn Cambron DC, MPH, PhD. J Chiropr Med. 2007 Dec;6(4):153-8.
Chiropractic treatment of lumbar spine synovial cysts: a report of two cases. Cox JM, Cox JM 2nd. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005 Feb;28(2):143-7.
Management of a chronic lumbar disk herniation with chiropractic biophysics methods after failed chiropractic manipulative intervention. PaulK GP, Harrison DE. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004 Nov-Dec;27(9):579.
Chiropractic high-velocity low-amplitude spinal manipulation in the treatment of a case of postsurgical chronic cauda equina syndrome. Anthony J. Lisi, DC, and Mukesh K. Bhardwaj, DC. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2004 Nov-Dec;27(9):574-8.
Chiropractic management and rehabilitation of a 38-year-old male with an L5-s1 disc herniation. Hammer CJ. J Chiropr Med. 2004 Autumn;3(4):145-52.
Chiropractic rehabilitation of a patient with S1 radiculopathy associated with a large lumbar disk herniation. Craig E. Morris, DC. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 Jan;22(1):38-44.
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" ... it's just amazing!"
Malcolm & Pat Pete
Atlas Wellness Centre (Atlas): Can you tell me your names, please?
Malcolm: Yes, Malcolm James Pete.
Pat: Pat Pete.
Atlas: And what made you want to come and see us in the first place.
Malcolm: Well, I’ve been suffering with severe pain in lower back and legs for two, three years really. I had several hip operations which supposedly were designed to cure the problem. But they had absolutely no effect and I would say in desperation, I saw your advertisement in the local paper. It sounded very good. So I thought, “Let’s give this a try.”
Atlas: And how would you say that having the health problems affected your life before you came in?
Malcolm: It stopped me doing most things that I enjoy doing. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t go for walks. I couldn’t garden. Found it extremely difficult to do any jobs around the house and was virtually confined to a wheelchair.
Atlas: And how would you say things have changed since you started having the care here?
Malcolm: Since I’ve had the care, I’ve lost 95 percent of all the pain that I was suffering with. I rarely use the wheelchair now unless in fact I’m – got a lot of walking to do and I can rely on a walking frame and now I can get about comfortably with a walking frame. My only problem now is that it has been so long since I’ve walked that I’ve got to build up my stamina and balance before I can really try to walk without any support at all.
Atlas: And Pat, would you say you noticed changes with Malcolm?
Pat: Definitely. He’s not taking any painkillers now. He was on quite a lot of painkillers. Within about three weeks to a month, he had dispensed with all the painkillers. It’s so good for both of us. He’s much more independent. I don’t have to push him around in a wheelchair, so it has made a lot of difference to my life too. Yeah, it’s just amazing!
Atlas: Excellent. What would you say to someone who’s maybe a bit worried, a bit – about coming here for the first time?
Malcolm: I would tell them to come along without any concerns at all. I found the people – all of the people I’ve come in contact with to be very helpful. They explain what’s going to happen and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. But the benefits can be immense.