The sciatic nerve is the longest in the human body. When it becomes inflamed or irritated, the pain normally begins in the lower or lumbar area of the spine and radiates outward, traveling down the back of the leg and into the calf. The irritation can be felt at any point along the nerve, including the buttocks, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Numbness, tingling, and pins and needles are just a few of the other sensations attributed to sciatica. In the beginning, the sensations may be mild and barely noticeable. As time passes, they can become quite severe, making it extremely difficult to sit in one position for long periods of time.
Physical therapy can help relieve the pain and discomfort of sciatica in several ways. Stretching exercises can be used to re-establish blood flow to the area and take pressure off of the irritated area. Regular exercise also works to reduce inflammation and restore flexibility to the soft tissues that may be affected. When it comes to sciatica, the physical therapist will choose exercises that affect the glutes, the hamstrings, gastrocs, and soleus muscles in the leg. By keeping these muscles strong, pressure is taken off of the length of the nerve. relieving the pain and discomfort that can otherwise be debilitating.
Chiropractic care can help in the treatment of sciatica by re-establishing balance within the structure of the body. Making sure the spine is properly aligned is important when dealing with any type of nerve damage. If the spine is in alignment, the nerves will travel along their natural pattern reducing the risk of possible injury. If for some reason, the bones in the body shift due to either an injury or an illness, a chiropractic adjustment can help restore them to where they need to be, taking pressure off of the sciatic or other nerves that may be affected. Chiropractic adjustments restore balance to both the bones as well as the muscles, giving the body ample time to heal.
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