Many people refer to sciatica as a pinched nerve. In actuality, sciatica can have many different causes. The narrowing of the foramen in the spine can irritate the lining of the nerve causing pain and irritation. The sciatic nerve can become trapped between two muscles or a muscle and a bone, or it can be entrapped within an area of inflamed tissue. All of these scenarios put pressure on the sciatic nerve and the blood vessels that support it. As blood flow to the area decreases, the nerve begins to be more and more deprived of oxygen resulting in numbness, tingling, and pain that ranges from a dull ache to a strong throbbing.
Sciatica can be extremely uncomfortable because it is the largest and longest nerve in the human body, aside from the spinal cord. If it is affected at any area along its length, the entire nerve may eventually be affected. Because the nerve is attached to the base of the spine and travels along the buttocks and down the leg to the foot, it is constantly being tugged and stretched at many different points. The sciatic nerve is exposed to different stresses from movement and stationary positions throughout the day. Once irritated it can range from a mild discomfort to an extreme pain.
Yes. When the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed due to being compressed between two harder objects, a chiropractic adjustment helps to restore the structures of the body to their natural positions. When this occurs, pressure is taken off the sciatic nerve and normal blood flow is restored. This provides the injured area with more nutrients and the freshly oxygenated blood needed for healing. Once the pressure has been released, you can stretch and exercise as part of your program to maintain flexibility and increase range of motion.
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