Posted by: Dr. Paul Zemella - Santa Barbara Chiropractor | August 21, 2011

Santa Barbara Chiropractic Services for Sciatica

Santa Barbara Chiropractic routinely diagnose and successfully treat leg pain associated with inflammation of the sciatic nerve, commonly called sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and it can be the source of significant pain and discomfort. Your Santa Barbara Chiropractic will carefully examine the source of your leg pain to differentiate the cause of sciatica.

Sciatica is not itself a diagnosis; it is a symptom of an underlying disorder. Your Santa Barbara Chiropractic will be evaluating four major causes of sciatica: a herniated disc or a tear in the outer fibrous rings of the disc, spinal stenosis, facet joint conditions, and nerve entrapment syndromes. In addition to these four common causes of sciatica, your chiropractor will also rule out other much rarer, but more serious, causes of sciatica, such as tumor, infection, or metabolic disease.

Disc Herniation and Tearing: It’s important to rule out a herniated disc or tears in the disc as the cause of sciatic pain, a condition known as sciatic neuritis. If your Santa Barbara Chiropractic finds that your leg pain is disc-related sciatica, then the evaluation and treatment program is for a disc injury.

Spinal Stenosis: Another common cause of sciatica is spinal stenosis, a chronic narrowing of the bony canal or the spinal column, both of which can trigger nerve inflammation. A diagnosis of spinal stenosis as the cause of your leg pain will mean you are a candidate for chiropractic care suited especially to this condition.

Lumbar Facet Syndrome: Facet joints can degenerate and go through arthritic changes. Degeneration of the facet joints can significantly contribute to sciatic nerve inflammation. A diagnosis of facet syndrome as the cause of sciatica will determine a treatment program of gentle chiropractic manipulation, sometimes including flexion-distraction protocol, and manual therapies especially suited for facet sprain.

Nerve Entrapment Syndromes: Mechanical imbalances in the spine and pelvis, disc degeneration without herniation, and spinal joint restrictions (subluxations) can lead to muscular tightness (hypertonicity) that can cause “entrapment” (or trapping) of the sciatic nerve. Specific muscle techniques that address the piriformis muscle are used in chiropractic practice to treat sciatic nerve entrapment. Santa Barbara Chiropractic utilize manual and muscle therapies, spinal manipulation, pelvic blocking, and other approaches to correct mechanical imbalances that contribute to entrapment.

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