Can Sciatica be treated with Chiropractic treatment?

Sciatica manifests itself as an intense deep pain that affects the whole leg. It can feel like your leg is burning, or numb and you may get painful pins and needles. This is usually caused when the nerves are compressed or stretched locally by an inflamed joint or loss of space for the nerve.

Chiropractic treatment looks to reduce stress at the disc by restoring movement to facet joints located at the back of the spine. This reduces stress at the disc and restores movement to the facet joints at the back of the spine. Chiropractic manipulation helps the muscles to start working properly again to support and protect your spine.

In a study by McMorland in 2010, it was determined that 60% of candidates who were due a microdiscectomy of a disc prolapse, got better without the need for surgery after partaking in a trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment.

It is possible to treat sciatica (mechanical) through chiropractic care and rehabilitation. Severe cases require emergency surgery which prevents nerve damage and eases the pain associated with the condition. It is best to look after your spine and prevent spinal nerve damage.

If you feel as if you may have sciatica, visit or call us at one of our Back In Form chiropractor clinics in Parkstone, Poole or Blandford Forum.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain caused by pressure or inflammation of one of the nerve roots that joins up the pelvis and makes up the sciatic nerve. These are the lower lumbar and upper sacral roots. The causes of sciatica are usually mechanical and due to a disc prolapse where material from the lumbar disc leaks out and either squashes the nerve or causes localised swelling that traps the nerve. It can be due to long standing wear and tear which cause a narrowing of the canal for the nerve to exit.

A disc problem will typically be worse if you bend forwards or sit, as this puts pressure on the disc. In later life wear and tear narrows the space for the nerves and they can be trapped causing sciatic pain. Symptoms then will typically be worse if you stand upright and reach for a top shelf, or if you walk downhill. It will be eased by bending forwards. Chiropractors are trained to determine which is the cause of your pain and treat accordingly. If you feel as if you require chiropractic assistance contact our Dorset clinics at Parkstone or Blandford today!

Will Chiropractic Care Help?

70% of disc prolapses will respond to chiropractic care, the rest will require medical intervention as well as manual therapy.

Disc problems are slow to develop and are progressive over time. This process is usually pain free as the disc has no nerve endings or bloody supply when healthy or young. The pain starts when the middle of the disc leaks out or the outer disc causes the nerve to stretch around the bulge.

Manual therapy treatment is aimed at getting the bulge to centralise in the disc, taking pressure off the nerve. However, when the disc has healed there is an increased likelihood of having pain in later life from the disc itself.

The loss of height of the disc can occur which means the ligaments kink and this can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal or lateral canal that the nerves exit from. This leads to pain and cramps in the lower legs when walking or reaching up. It can also show as twitching of the muscles of the calf. If you have these signs you would be best advised to seek treatment and advice as prolonged pressure can lead to permanent damage to the nerves affecting balance and strength.

If you think you may have sciatica call the clinic for advice on 01202 733355, we are here to help.

Have a look at our testimonial page for feedback on our service and download your free guide to easing back pain.


Manipulation or Microdiscectomy for sciatica? A prospective randomised clinical study. McMorland G, Suter E, Casha S, du Plessis SJ, Hurlbert RJ: J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010 Oct;33(8):576-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.08.013.

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