Overview of Leg Pain or Sciatica
Sciatica and leg pain are co-conditions that impact millions. Sciatica is a shooting pain that starts in the lower back, transmits into the butt cheeks and down the back of one or both legs. The pain is regularly brought about from compression or pinching of lumbar (lower back) spinal nerves or the sciatic nerve in the buttocks. It can result from a herniated or bulging disc (slipped disc) or damaged soft tissues of the buttocks or spine. Treatment and recuperation from sciatica and leg pain are possible without surgery, injections or medication. Traditional therapy approaches include bed rest, medicine, physiotherapy or chiropractic care. This article will provide you an overview along with best therapy approaches for complete recovery.
Types of leg pain
Leg pain can range from mild to excruciating; it can be constant or intermittent. It can result from injuries, wear and tear of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints. Leg pain is also common in patients with lower spine issues such as sciatica, degenerated disc, bulging discs, herniated discs (protruded, prolapsed disc and extruded discs). Other health conditions that cause leg pain include varicosities, poor circulation, or blood clots.
Intense sciatica and leg pain can happen suddenly. However, for sciatica and leg pain to occur there has to be some levels of preexisting issues or damage.
What are the symptoms?
Sciatic pain begins in the low back and buttocks. It may influence one or both legs. However, in most cases, sciatica and leg pain are experienced on one side of the body. The pain may radiate or go down to the back of the thigh, past the knee, and into the calf or even the foot. Sciatica and leg pain may produce more pain in the leg or thigh. The leg pain may become severe, preventing you from getting a good nights sleep.
Chronic sciatica and leg pain patients will also have some degree of tingling or numbness sensation in the thigh, leg, foot or toes. Regardless of the severity of symptoms, timely diagnosis or the cause and targeted care are needed to avoid worsening. Neglect or ineffective therapy programs can lead to progression. Progression may lead to weakness in one or both legs that include a foot drop.
What are the causes of painful legs and sciatica?
Sciatica and leg pain can be brought about by various conditions that disturb or pinch the sciatic nerve:
- Piriformis disorder: Tightening or fit of the piriformis muscles that compress and irritate the sciatic nerve in the buttocks.
- Trauma: Sports injuries, improper lifting, falls or congenital issues such as severe scoliosis or spondylolysis (often inherited condition resulting from a break in pars).
- Slipped disc (bulging or herniated discs): The gel-like center or nucleus pulposus migrating towards the spinal canal and compressing nerves or thecal sac (spinal cord).
- Spinal canal or foraminal stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal or the holes where spinal nerves exit are common causes of sciatica and leg pain.
- Osteoarthritis or bone spurs: Normally seen in the elderly, but also common in young adults. Osteoarthritis or bone spurs compress nerves in the spinal canal or spinal foramina.
- Spondylolisthesis: A condition resulting from degenerative changes of the spinal joints leading to forward displacement of a vertebra (spinal bone); compressing nerves. Sciatica and leg pain can come from joint issues in the hip or the sacroiliac joint.
What treatments are available for leg pain or sciatica?
Self-care at home: Sciatica may settle with rest, ice or over-the-counter medication (NSAID’s). Also, simple stretches can alleviate some of the symptoms. If self-care or over the counter medicines aren’t helping, call us. We have the experts you need.
Prescription Medicine: In the event, the over-the-counter (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) aren’t helpful, you can ask your GP for stronger prescription meditations. However, we are opposed to medication as they only treat the symptom and not the actual cause of pain. Non-the-less, it is an option.
Conservative therapy: The most helpful treatment option for sciatica and leg pain patient is targeted treatments that incorporate chiropractic and physiotherapy. We will discuss these options at later.
Injection or Surgery: Injections or surgery should be the absolute last option. Although many surgeons recommend one or both, conservative holistic treatment from our corrective chiropractors and physiotherapists is a better choice.
What can you do at home for sciatica or leg pain?
Sciatica and leg pain are common complaints. If the cause is a tight muscle in the buttocks, thigh or leg, simple home stretches might do the trick. Hamstring and gluteal stretches are best. We have provided an excellent home exercise below:
- Flex your non-painful leg at the knee to about 90-degrees
- Place the painful sciatica side leg’s ankle just above the knee joint of the healthy leg
- Grasp (with interlocking fingers of both hands) the back of your thigh (above the knee joint)
- Gently pull the healthy thigh and leg towards your chest and hold the position for 5-20 seconds followed with a 30-seconds rest
- Repeat 3-5 times and then rest
However, stop if you experience an increase in back pain, pain in the buttocks, thigh, leg or calf. Numbness or tingling during this exercise is also a contraindication. In other words, if you or symptoms increase during the maneuver, verve impingement may be present. As such, you will need an expert for proper assessment. Chiropractic Specialty Center® has the most skilled and knowledgeable clinical teams of chiropractors and physiotherapists. We are the best non-surgical center for sciatica and leg pain.
We have provided a brief list of activities to avoid or abstain from if you have sciatica and leg pain below:
- Avoid improper lifting
- Abstain from prolonged sitting or sitting in poor postures
- Avoid activities that require repetitive bending or twisting of the spine
How long does it take to recover from sciatica and leg pain?
Recovery is deponent on the severity and cause of health issues that led to sciatica and leg pain. Also, it is dependent on the type of care you get. If your sciatica and leg pain is mild, recovery can be a couple of days. Disorders that involve spinal discs, joints or compression of nerves can take 4-8 weeks with holistic treatments. Therapy targeting the actual cause of your pain will lead to faster and more complete recovery.
Treatment Of Sciatica And Leg Pain
Sciatica and leg pain has many causes, and best rectified without surgical intervention. In this article, we will provide you with information on causes and non-operative treatment options for sciatica and leg pain. Medical journals define sciatica as leg and back pain that originates from the lower spine and buttocks; running down the leg. The leg pain associated with the sciatic nerve varies in severity and frequency. Some, describe their the leg pain as either dull, achy or sharp. Other symptoms such as numbness, burning sensations and tingling in the legs are common with sciatica.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve pain?
Contrary to popular belief, sciatica is not a disorder itself, but symptoms of neuropathy. Several other conditions may also compress nerves, leading to sciatica. In other words, sciatica is a symptom of pinching of the sciatic nerve. Various disorders are known to cause sciatica and leg pain. Some of these conditions include lumbar spine subluxations or misaligned vertebral bodies.
However, a common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc or slipped discs (slip-disc), tumors, pregnancy, and childbirth. Also, there could be non-spinal disorders like diabetes or constipation that cause sciatica-like symptoms. In short, sciatica an-all-in-one-term that describes the instability of the spine. And as such, the sciatica symptoms are often triggered by doing something as simple as sitting incorrectly in one’s back pocket.
Piriformis syndrome is the most common cause of Sciatic Pain in the Back or Legs.
The most common cause of sciatica is piriformis syndrome. The Piriformis muscle connects the sacrum (tailbone) to the thighbone and helps with hip rotation. Piriformis muscle is a source of compression for the sciatic nerve compression because the sciatic nerve runs beneath it. It is highly susceptible to injuries and is prone to cramping, thereby resulting in a “pinching” of the sciatic nerve with inflammation and leg pain. An accurate diagnosis is essential because sciatica is a symptom of numerous conditions.
Therefore, our first step would be to identify what is causing the patient’s case of sciatica. To form a diagnosis, our research-based clinical chiropractors will review your medical history. Your clinical assessment starts after noting your history and symptoms. Our teams will complete a thorough physical and neurological examination. We may need additional diagnostic tests such as an MRI or x-rays. We may even send you for electrodiagnostic tests root-cause of your sciatica and leg pain.
How our Chiropractors and Physiotherapists Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain?
The concept of our physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment is to use non-invasive and drug-free methods to help you heal and recover within the shortest time frame. Treatment of sciatica in our centers is through integrative methods enhanced with advanced therapy devices. Our collaborative protocols used in the care of back pain, sciatica, and leg pain is a proven system of care. Our proven system of sciatica care is through serial MRI assessments. In short, if you suffer from sciatica-like pain, we offer the best holistic sciatica treatment in Malaysia.
There are various types of chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments available for cases of sciatic nerve compression. The best treatments are those based on the patient’s condition. The ice/cold therapy is used to reduce inflammation and assist in controlling sciatic pain. However, ultrasound treatments are more beneficial to penetrate the muscle tissue and increase circulation. Ultrasound therapy involves the penetration of sound waves into damaged tissues. Therapeutic Ultrasound can help relieve feelings of spasm, swelling, pain, and stiffness. Spinal decompression therapy is excellent. But, for it to be effective, it must be a TRUE spinal decompression therapy unit and not traction or DTS. In our opinion, the best spinal decompression therapy device is RxDecom®.
Spinal Manipulations and Sciatic Leg Pain and Sciatic Nerve Pain
Spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments are needed components of the care you should get. Our Chiros are well-known in Malaysia. The chiropractic treatments you get in our centers involve the physical movement of the spine. Chiropractic treatments or “Adjustments” restore misaligned vertebrae to their correct position in the spinal column. This type of adjustment is beneficial in reducing nerve irritability, muscle spasm, leg pain, inflammation and other symptoms associated with sciatica. Adjustments may seem risky, but if conducted by trained professionals they are found to be effective and safe. In fact, in our centers, we utilize the most conservative of chiropractic treatments when it comes to sciatica and leg pain.
Final Words On The Matter
Dealing with sciatica and leg pain can be frustrating and, well, painful experience. Spine surgery should be the last options as it fails often. Our non-surgical methods of treatments have helped thousands. We are confident that we can do the same for you. So, before you opt for spinal injections or spine surgery, call us. This article will help demonstrate how our clinical teams in chiropractic, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation help you recover from back pain, sciatica, and leg pain.