Do You Have Sciatica?


Many residents in Louisville suffer from sciatic pain; this condition is described as a shooting pain that runs down the back of the leg and into the foot. This article will cover the different causes, anatomy, physiology and possible treatment options. Westport Chiropractic and Rehab wants to help you!

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. It originates in the lower back which is made up of five bones called the lumbar spine. Nerves exit at each level of the lumbar spine and form what is called the lumbar plexus.  This plexus of nerves run down through the leg. These nerves innervate the skin, muscles and organs of the lower part of the body.  When these nerves are irritated it can cause a burning, shooting or stabbing pain that radiates down the back of the leg into the foot and can cause pain in the groan as well.

Causes of Sciatica Pain in Louisville

This pain can be triggered by several different things. One of the most common causes is poor posture. In this day and age proper posture is under attack due to jobs that require long periods of sitting or standing.  Regardless if your job consists of standing or sitting proper ergonomics are a must to avoid abnormal/ uneven pressure on the lower back which in turn can lead to nerve irritation and the beginning symptoms of Sciatic pain.  Irritation of this nerve can also originate from compression of a disc in the lumbar spine. These disc are cartilaginous this means the outer portion of a disc is made up of cartilage and the middle of a jelly like substance called the nucleus. Disc can be damaged through repetitive motion or due to trauma. Once these discs are injured the outer portion becomes weak and the fluid in the center migrates towards the weakened area and can cause a bulging or herniation of the disc material in turn compressing the nerves of the lumbar plexus and causing sciatic pain.  Spinal misalignments can also cause this type of pain. The bones of the lower back and of the pelvis can be rotated causing abnormal pressure on the disc and nerves which leads to irritation or entrapment of the nerve and cause sciatic pain. Along with spinal misalignment typically the surrounding muscles work in compensating patterns which can cause entrapment of the nerve causing pressure on turn sciatic nerve.

Treatment Options

Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the sciatic pain. At Westport Chiropractic and Rehab in Louisville, our goal is to first determine the cause of the pain. This is done through a proper exam  which consists of orthopedic and neurological tests, surface EMG to determine muscular activity and determine if the spinal muscularity is unbalanced we also use of digital x-ray’s and or an MRI/CAT Scan if needed. Once the cause of the nerve compression has been determined a proper treatment program can be created. This can involve chiropractic adjustments for spinal misalignment which are determined through the x-ray analysis and postural examination. If the pain is caused by a damaged disc typically spinal decompression is used to remove the positive pressure on the disc. Decompression helps create a negative pressure on the disc. By taking the pressure off the disc material it creates an environment that the damaged disc material can heal.  If the nerve in entrapped in a muscle such as piriformis syndrome there are specific myofascial techniques used. These techniques are used to break up myofascial adhesions aka scar tissue in the muscle. These adhesions can cause an entrapment of the nerve in the muscle which can lead to nerve compression. Once the pressure is removed from the nerve pain may continue due to the amount of pressure that was placed on the nerve. Nerves have a material that surrounds them called myelin. It is similar to the coating you see on wires. This material can be bruised and takes time to heal. So a level of pain may continue following treatment until complete healing continues.

Once the cause of the pain has been determined and proper treated has begun a specific rehabilitation program which included balance exercises is implemented as part of the treatment plan. Often a contributing problem to this type of nerve pain is a weak core. Now there is a lot of confusion regarding core stability. The core of the human body consists of two muscles the multifidus and the transverse abdominis. These muscles attached directly to the spine. These muscles are activated through balance. Patients are often asked when is the last time you rode a bike, walked on a balance beam, went roller skating you get the point. Most people’s balance hasn’t been challenged since they were a child. To help strengthen these muscles certain exercises are performed on balance balls and a proprioception platform. These exercises are designed to creates balance challenges to make the proper muscles fire. Along with balance exercises lower abdominal exercises are also performed to help reduce excessive lordosis (curve) in the lumbar spine.

If you or someone you know are experiencing sciatic pain call Westport Chiropractic and Rehab in Louisville at (502) 326-5000 for a proper evaluate and an effective treatment plan designed based upon your individual needs.

Monday8:30am - 12:00pm
2:30pm - 6:00pm
Tuesday8:30am - 12:00pm
2:30pm - 6:00pm
Wednesday8:30am - 12:00pm
2:30pm - 6:00pm
Thursday8:30am - 12:00pm
2:30pm - 6:00pm
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Westport Chiropractic and Rehab
4169 Westport Road #107
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 326-5000

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