The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, traveling from the spinal cord of your lumbar spine all the way down to your foot. When the sciatic nerve is inflamed or compressed, it causes a lot of symptoms including pain, numbness and weakness in your legs, and tingling sensations down the leg to the foot. That’s when you’re told you have sciatica.
One thing you may have heard from your medical doctor about your sciatica is that you only need conservative medical treatment. The phrase “conservative medical treatment” implies that it’s a safe type of treatment. It also implies that you won’t be harmed. But you really have to give this some thought to see if is true.
Conservative medical treatment for sciatica may include any of the following, depending on your doctor’s determination:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids
- Anxiety or depression drugs
- A series of physical therapy sessions
- Epidural steroid injections (purpose: reducing sciatic nerve root inflammation)
- Hot and/or cold packs
While hot and/or cold packs and physical therapy likely won't cause harm, the rest of the options on the list can cause side effects. One of the side effects of pain medications is a thinning of the stomach lining, which can lead to internal hemorrhaging. The problem with this is that you won’t know it’s happening until you need to go to the emergency room and get a pint of blood.
There are also side effects with all anxiety or depression medications. You may be very astute and know that the symptoms of sciatica affect the physical body from the back to the foot, and anxiety or depression is not really something that should happen with it. The only reason why these psychological symptoms occur with sciatica is because the pain is overwhelming and/or there doesn’t appear to be any hope.
Epidural steroid injections reduce inflammation but they also carry a risk of side effects, such as numbness of the bladder and bowel, infections, headache, and nerve damage. Steroids are known for their decrease of collagen in the area surrounding the injection, thus leaving the area weaker than prior to the injection. Collagen serves as ‘padding’ for the surrounding tissues. Steroids also are linked to weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, osteoporosis, ulcers, and GI bleeding, especially if they’re taken over a long period of time.
Chiropractic care from your Oakleigh chiropractor is a true conservative treatment for sciatica. It includes chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, hot and cold packs or treatments, lifestyle changes, and other newly advanced methods. All are aimed to heal and engage your body’s natural healing mechanisms. So if you want truly natural relief of sciatica, schedule an appointment with your Oakleigh chiropractor today!