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Understanding Sciatica: The Causes and Treatment Options

Sciatica, also referred to as sciatic neuritis, is a common type of pain that affects the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that is located on the lower back down to the back of each leg. Sciatic neuritis commonly affects one side of the lower body. The pain may go down through the back of the thigh or all the way to the toes or foot depending on where the sciatic nerve is affected. Some people may feel a shooting, severe, and debilitating pain. For others, the pain may be just irritating but worsen with time.

According to WebMD, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, sciatica being one of them. One needs to seek immediate medical attention when he experiences a progressive lower extremity weakness, numbness in the upper thighs, and loss of bowel or bladder control.

Symptoms of sciatic neuritis

The typical symptoms of sciatic neuritis include the following:

  • Pain felt in the lower rear or leg, which worsens when sitting.
  • Burning or tingling sensation in the leg.
  • Difficulty moving the foot or leg, weakness or numbness.
  • A steady pain on one side of the rear.
  • A sharp pain that can result in difficulty in standing up.
Imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging can be used to diagnose lumbar disc herniation. The straight leg raise test can also be used for diagnosis, where a patient is asked to lie on the back and raise his legs. If he feels pain in his sciatic nerve distribution when the legs are between 30 and 70 degrees, he is likely to be a victim.


Ninety percent of sciatic neuritis is caused by irritation of the root of the lumbosacral spine and the lower lumbar, a condition commonly referred to as spinal disc herniation.

Other common causes of sciatic neuritis include the following:

  • Narrowing of the spinal duct in the bottom of the back (lumbar spinal stenosis).
  • Breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae (degenerative disc disease)
  • Pregnancy
  • One vertebra slipping forward over another (spondylolisthesis)

When one is suffering from sciatic neuritis, other things that may worsen the pain include wearing high heels, being overweight, not exercising regularly, or sleeping on a mattress that is very soft.

Management of Sciatica

Most cases of sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation is treatable by Dr. Amidror of Spinous. He offers chiropractic and spinal decompression therapy, including treatments for sciatica. Conveniently located in New Rochelle, Spinous serves clients in Westchester County, Fairfield and the Bronx.

phyiso-modalities as a complementary treatment

A chiropractor is of great help in treating sciatica. Spinal manipulation may be used as an effective treatment for acute sciatic neuritis but is not widely used for chronic sciatica. Ultrasound, a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation device, or massage can be used as alternative forms of treatment. Ultrasound warms the painful area and increases circulation, which in turn reduces the swelling and muscle tension. A TENS device relaxes the muscle spasms and boosts endorphins.

medication and Surgery

The most common medications are anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. in more severe cases one would be prescribed different narcotics, however those usually only musk the pain and do not solve the problem, in additions to their side effects. In some complicated cases spinal surgery may be appropriate, surgery for unilateral sciatic neuritis is known as discectomy, and it involves removing part of the disc. The operation results only in short term benefits, but for long term benefits, one needs conservative care and spinal rehabilitation. Spinal surgery should be preform for the following conditions: an epidural abscess, cauda equina syndrome, epidural tumors, true and objective muscle weakness or any other clinical condition that one´s Physician deems as a true emergency.

Needless to say, sciatica symptoms should never be ignored. Dr. Amidror of Spinous offers chiropractic and spinal decompression therapy, including treatments for a sciatica symptomsSpinal decompression therapy is considered one of the best treatments, Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical traction based treatment outcome for herniated or bulging discs in the neck and lower back. Anyone who has back, neck, arm or leg pain may be helped by spinal decompression therapy.
If you have any additional questions, please call our office at 914 636 2660

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