What is Sciatica Pain?
The sciatic nerve is the longest, largest nerve running from your lower back through the pelvis to your feet. When it is compressed or pinched, you may experience pain or discomfort, resulting in sciatica. Generally, sciatica gets better in 4 to 6 weeks but can last longer.
Note that not all sciatica is the same. Some symptoms characteristic of sciatica are in fact caused by soft tissue inflammation and lead to transient pain, which tends to diminish once your muscles relax and no longer cause numbness. On the other hand, sciatica is often attributed to structural damage or compression between the lumbar and sacral spine.
A slipped disc is the most common cause of sciatica, which occurs when one of the discs between your vertebrae bulges out between the bones, pressing on the nerve. The disc is most likely to cause sciatica if it ruptures. Sciatica is the pain spreading down one leg from the lower back and buttocks, and usually, this pain extends below the knee and may reach the foot. The pain in the leg is typically worse than the back pain, and there may also be a tingling sensation or numbness experienced on the skin and weakness of the leg muscles.
If sciatica lasts longer than a week, is severe, or worsens, get immediate pain relief treatment in our Hong Kong center.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Common symptoms of sciatica include:
- Pain in the lower back, spreading from the buttocks down to the foot
- Associated tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness
- Exacerbated pain after walking or prolonged sitting
- Difficulty in walking in severe cases
- Intensified pain and possible numbness when lifting the leg
Causes of Sciatica
Numerous factors can lead to sciatica, but the main reasons include:
Herniated Intervertebral Disc
Intervertebral discs are jelly-like cushions absorbing and buffering the body's weight and pressure. If a disc protrudes, it can press directly onto your sciatic nerve and result in pain.
Vertebral Displacement (Spondylolisthesis )
Any displacement of the vertebrae might compress the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica.
This condition can cause inflammation of or put pressure on the lumbar or sacral nerves roots, which are components of the sciatic nerve, resulting in sciatica.
Conditions like hip fractures, complications from infections, tumours, muscles embedding the nerve, or spinal stenosis can also compress the sciatic nerve and result in pain.
Risk Factors for Sciatica
The risk of developing sciatica increases with:
- Heavy lifting
- Excessive straining
Starting with a detailed patient's medical history, followed by a comprehensive physical examination is essential for diagnosing sciatica. X-rays, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other tests may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis.
Sciatica Treatment in Hong Kong (HK)
For milder cases, the following are commonly recommended for sciatica pain relief. With the body's natural healing capability, symptoms can be alleviated within weeks.
- Heat and cold therapy: Placing cold packs intermittently on the painful area for 48-72 hours, followed by heat, can help reduce inflammation.
- Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers are often prescribed.
- Exercise: Tailored rehabilitation exercises based on individual conditions.
Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica in Hong Kong (HK)
Step 1: Anti-Inflammation
Promote blood circulation, muscle relaxation, and pain relief through electrotherapy; use of ultrasound therapy and cold packs to alleviate inflammation.
Step 2: Spinal Decompression and Alignment
Chiropractors can provide traction treatments to alleviate nerve pressure and conduct spinal adjustments to correct joint dysfunctions, aiding in recovery of spinal joint mechanics
Step 3: Exercise
Strengthening exercises, especially for the abdominal muscles, can support and stabilize the lumbar structure, reducing the chances of relapse.
NB: If nerve damage is severe, surgical intervention might be suggested, such as minimally invasive procedures to relieve nerve pressure or more complex surgeries involving stabilizing the bone structure.
Alden described his pain level as severe, reaching a 10 on the pain scale. Despite consulting general physicians and being prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatories, his condition did not improve. Upon examination, Alden was diagnosed with sciatica due to lumbar disc hernia. With tailored chiropractic sciatica treatment in HK, his pain began to subside in just 2 weeks. By the eighth week, all pain and numbness had disappeared. Learn more about Alden's journey of sciatica pain relief in Hong Kong.