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How Can a Chiropractor Help with Sciatica?

Are experiencing a shooting, piercing pain that runs from the lower back down to the legs? if yes, you are probably suffering from sciatica pain. The sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, runs from the buttocks down to the toes. When this nerve becomes irritated or compressed due to conditions like a trapped nerve, disc herniation, Piriformis syndrome, or trigger point referral, it can lead to sciatica pain.

 Common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Leg pain that worsens when sitting
  • Tingling or burning sensation running down the leg
  • Numbness, weakness, or difficulty moving the foot or entire leg
  • Consistent pain on one side of the lower back
  • Intense and intolerable pain that makes it hard to stand up

Chiropractic and Sciatica

While sciatica pain can be debilitating, chiropractic treatment offers a gentle and natural way to find relief. Chiropractors focus on treating pain without resorting to costly and harmful side effects. Here’s how a chiropractor can help with sciatica:

1. Accurate Diagnosis of Sciatica

Chiropractic care is based on the principle that restricted spinal movement can lead to pain and reduced function. If you are experiencing sciatic pain, a chiropractor will thoroughly examine and review your medical history to determine the underlying cause. Chiropractic treatment aims to help the body heal itself through drug-free and non-invasive approaches.

2. Chiropractic Massage Therapy

Chiropractic massage therapy is an intense form of massage specifically designed to relieve sciatica pain. It focuses on inducing deep muscle relaxation and releasing endorphins, which act as natural painkillers. Unlike regular spa massages that primarily target sore muscles and tension, chiropractic massage aims to soothe and heal sciatica. Chiropractors possess comprehensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and know precisely where and how to apply pressure for optimal healing.

3. Heat and Cold Therapies

Chiropractors often employ alternating heat and cold therapy to provide quick relief from sciatica pain. Heat therapy helps release tight muscles and alleviate discomfort, while cold therapy slows down blood flow and reduces inflammation symptoms. Depending on your condition, the chiropractor will determine which treatment is suitable and how often to alternate between them.

4. Ultrasound and Other Modalities

Ultrasound therapy involves the use of gentle heat generated by sound waves, which penetrate deep into the body’s tissues. It can improve circulation, promote healing, and alleviate cramping, swelling, muscle spasms, and pain. Chiropractors may also utilize low-level laser therapy (cold laser therapy) to enhance healing by reducing irritation, swelling, and musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, they might employ a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit, a small battery-powered device that relaxes muscle spasms, increases endorphins, and reduces pain.

5. Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractors can perform spinal manipulations to help a herniated disc return to its proper position, relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve. These adjustments also restore limited spinal movement and correct misaligned vertebral discs. The technique employed can vary, ranging from quick high-velocity thrusts to gentle pressure with minimal force. By carefully moving the lower back vertebrae, chiropractors avoid exerting pressure on the sciatic nerve, which reduces pain and enhances nerve signal flow and mobility. Manipulations can also help alleviate muscle spasms, leading to long-term relief.

6. Spinal Decompression

Sometimes, the discs in your spine can naturally dry out and become thinner, resulting in pinched nerves and spine compression. Chiropractors use spinal decompression techniques to relieve the compression of the nerves that are causing sciatica pain. These techniques aim to lengthen the spine and increase the space between the vertebrae, reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve.

7. Chiropractic Exercises

Certain movements can worsen sciatica pain, but depending on the underlying cause, a chiropractor may recommend specific exercises that not only avoid aggravating the sciatic nerve but also help release pressure from inflamed and tight muscles. These exercises can include stretching programs that you can perform at home. Additionally, yoga can be effective in relieving sciatica pain. For example, the reclining pigeon pose can stretch the piriformis muscle, alleviate pressure on the nerve, and reduce irritation.

8. Lifestyle Changes

Chiropractors consider various aspects of your life when treating sciatica. They may recommend changes in your standing, sitting, sleeping, and lifting techniques to protect the positioning of the sciatic nerve. This guidance can help strengthen the back muscles and maintain the proper alignment of the discs, reducing the likelihood of disc slippage and pressure on the sciatic nerve. By addressing lifestyle factors, chiropractors can provide both short-term and long-term relief for sciatica pain.

In conclusion, sciatica pain can be devitalizing, but it doesn’t have to be something you endure. You can find relief with a proper diagnosis and a tailored treatment program. Chiropractors are well-trained and equipped to offer the necessary care and help alleviate the pressure and sciatica pain, allowing you to resume enjoying your life.

Do you have sciatica pain? We can help. Schedule your appointment with Downtown Chiropractic Albuquerque today to get the sciatica pain relief you’ve been waiting for.


1. Are chiropractic adjustments painful?

Chiropractic adjustments are generally not painful. Some patients may experience mild discomfort or soreness, but this is temporary and usually subsides quickly.

2. How many chiropractic sessions are required to treat sciatica?

The number of chiropractic sessions required to treat sciatica varies depending on the individual and the severity of the condition. It is best to consult with a chiropractor who can assess your specific situation and provide a treatment plan.

3. Is chiropractic care safe for pregnant women with sciatica?

Yes, chiropractic care is generally safe for pregnant women with sciatica. However, it is important to inform the chiropractor about your pregnancy so they can make necessary adjustments to the treatment approach.

4. Can chiropractic treatment completely cure sciatica?

Chiropractic treatment can help manage and alleviate sciatica pain, but whether it can completely cure sciatica depends on the underlying cause and individual factors. Chiropractors aim to improve the condition and provide long-term relief.

5. Are there any side effects of chiropractic treatment for sciatica?

Chiropractic treatment for sciatica is generally safe and does not have significant side effects. However, some patients may experience temporary soreness or discomfort after adjustments, which usually resolves quickly. It is important to communicate any concerns or unusual symptoms with your chiropractor.

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