Are you suffering from lower back pain, numbness, tingling sensations, or muscle weakness travelling down the back of your thigh and into your calf or foot? If your answer is yes, you are not alone; between 200,000 and 400,000 Australians1 are experiencing sciatica (sciatic pain) and want to heal from it.
Any solution starts from accessing professional help, identifying the root causes of your sciatica symptoms and determining the best way to recover.
Recovering from sciatic pain naturally means giving priority to drug-free treatments, resuming your normal activities, exercising and making use of other social, biological and psychological tools2.
Such ideas are supported by recent scientific reviews and international guidelines that call for discretion in relation to imaging, medication and surgery for most sciatic pain conditions2.
What is causing your sciatic pain?
Sciatica is pain along the sciatic nerve.5 It occurs when the nerve is irritated or compressed, mostly because of 6:
- Movements as twisting the spine, picking up heavy loads incorrectly or prolonged sitting.
- Obesity putting increased pressure on the spine.
- Age-related changes to the spine.
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes leading to increased risk of nerve damage.
Only certified health practitioners can give you an accurate diagnosis of your situation. They follow a systematic examination process to determine the root causes of your sciatic pain.
For example, they evaluate your psychosocial risk factors to predict your chances for chronic disabling back pain. Therefore, they can design the best pathway to restore your wellbeing.7
Managing and Reducing sciatica 101
The key steps for reducing your sciatic symptoms are: 1) finding experienced practitioners and 2) following their directions. You can consider consulting the following experts:
- A chiropractor. This professional is concerned with the diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health3.
- A physiotherapist. This professional is concerned with maintaining and restoring maximum movement and function ability throughout your lifespan. They help in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by ageing, injury, pain, diseases, disorders, conditions or environmental factors 4.
These health practitioners are two outstanding choices to help minimise sciatic pain. They work well in combination and are trained in the diagnosis and management of sciatic pain.
Natural treatments to help reducing the symptoms of sciatica
There are a wide variety of treatment options, depending on the time lengths and intensity of your sciatic pain. Pain reducing techniques can start from self-care measures, exercise therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, yoga and progressive relaxation.7
The physical therapies use a variety of techniques aiming at improving mobility, posture, promoting muscle relaxation, stabilisation and decreasing pain. They involve stretching and strengthening exercises, spinal mobilisation, interferential current, soft-tissue mobilisation, massage, ultrasound, heat, manual traction and posture correction.8
The chiropractic therapies tend to be an alternative to pharmacological treatments but focus on the nervous system’s role in maintaining and controlling all the body’s functions. These reducing strategies mainly focus on manual techniques such as soft-tissue and joint adjustment. Other strategies include rehabilitation exercises, patient education and lifestyle modification.8
In addition, the everyday products we use are worthy of careful consideration. For instance, the type of chair and desk used at a home or work environment, and your choice of mattress used. Please follow this link for more information on the benefits of a chiropedic mattress.
In Adelaide, the SA Wellness Centre brings multidisciplinary treatments that help alíviate sciatica symptoms. Their natural approach involves chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage, naturopathy, nutrition and yoga; which recognises that your health and wellbeing are inter-dependent upon your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual environment.
- Experts work with nature to restore your natural balance and recover your inherent healing abilities.
- The effective reduction of your symptoms depends on the origin, history, diagnosis and professionally identified treatment for your specific situation.
- Chiropractors and Physiotherapists, in combination with massage therapists, can design optimal sciatic pain solutions adapted to your specific needs.
- The speed of your sciatic pain healing can be increased by maintaining regular physical activity and being compliant with your tailored treatment.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Chronic musculoskeletal conditions. . (Accessed on the 7thof March 2019).
- Foster, N. E., Anema, J. R., Cherkin, D., Chou, R., Cohen, S. P., Gross, D. P., … & Turner, J. A. (2018). Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. The Lancet.
- Australian Chiropractors Association (2019). Chiropractic Definitions. Chiropractic Definitions. (Accessed on the 7thof March 2019).
- World Confederation for Physical Therapy (2011) Position statement. Description of physical therapy. London, World Confederation for Physical Therapy. . (Accessed on the 5thof March 2019).
- las, S., J. (2017). Taming the pain of sciatica: For most people, time heals and less is more. Harvard Health Publishing. . (Accessed on the 7thof March 2019).
- Chou, R., Qaseem, A., Snow, V., Casey, D., Cross, J. T., Shekelle, P., & Owens, D. K. (2007). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of internal medicine, 147(7), 478-491.
- Roios, E., Paredes, A. C., Alves, A. F., & Pereira, M. G. (2017). Cognitive representations in low back pain in patients receiving chiropractic versus physiotherapy treatment. Journal of health psychology, 22(8), 1012-1024.