Sciatica is a condition similar to that of peripheral neuropathy, except the symptoms will normally affect only one leg. An individual afflicted with sciatica will relate burning, tingling, or a sensation of pins and needles somewhere along the leg or foot. The area affected will correlate to the nerves being pinched in the lower back. Each sciatic nerve is made up of 5 branches from the spinal column each have specific areas on the legs, thighs, ankles, and feet they are responsible for. In sciatica the nerves are pinched in the mid to lower back where they exit the spinal column. Where and which nerves are pinched determines the symptoms experienced by the individual. The pains can be transient and aggravated by very specific activities. For example some patients will experience the pain only when sleeping and others may only experience symptoms while standing or running. If the nerve becomes irritated and inflamed enough it will remain symptomatic until it is allowed to a normal state.
Treatment for sciatica can be very difficult and specific to the nerves that are effected. The cause of the impingement on the nerves will dictate what kind of treatment is needed and how successful a treatment will be. Different structures can cause the stress on the nerves, herniated disks, spinal misalignment, and spinal arthritis are common causes. I recommend X-rays and/or MRI’s and a complete evaluation by an experienced physician. If a person has a history of traumatic injury, we usually recommend a orthopedic surgeon, if not a Chiropractor or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) specializing in manipulative medicine. Best case scenario manipulation and a different mattress will relieve the symptoms.