Sciatica is defined as pain and/or discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is as thick as a person’s thumb, originates in the lumbar region and branches off of the spinal cord, passes between the vertebrae and runs through the pelvic region down to the feet. If the sciatic nerve is injured or has pressure on it, it will elicit a sharp or burning pain from the lower back or hip down to the foot. Typically, sciatica affects one side of the body.
Sciatica affects 15% to 40% of adults usually between the ages of 25 and 50 at some point in life. The incidence of sciatica is between 1% to 5% annually (1,2). This incidence is related to age, with any occurrence before 20 years old being extremely rare. The highest incidence is found in the fifth decade and then decreases with age.
Causes of Sciatica:
- disc herniation or disc bulge
- piriformis syndrome
- spinal stenosis
- space occupying lesion (i.e. tumor, this is the least common reason)
Diagnosing sciatica involves several things:
- Obtaining a complete patient history
- Performing a physical exam including motor-sensory testing (neurological) as well as orthopedic testing
- Obtaining X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans; and less commonly- electromyography and myelography
Treatment options for sciatica may include but are not limited to:
- Chiropractic adjustments/spinal manipulation
- Physical therapy
- TENS/EMS- transcutaneous electro-nerve stimulation or electric muscle stimulation
Montclair chiropractor, Dr. Gary Eshanov, offers all of the above diagnostic and treatment options. The doctor’s Montclair Chiropractic Center focuses on treating patients in a holistic and natural way, without the use of drugs. Nonetheless, there are situations where the services of pain specialists are required, in which case, Dr. Eshanov refers the patient for pain management and co-manages the patient’s care with a pain management doctor.
Contact Dr. Eshanov today if you think you may be dealing with the discomfort of sciatica.
1. Frymoyer J. Lumbar disc disease: epidemiology. Instr Course Lect (1992) 41:217–23.
2. Frymoyer JW. Back pain and sciatica. N Engl J Med (1988) 318:291–300.