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Low back pain is the most common reason patients seek chiropractic care, and it comes in many different forms. Sciatica is a version of a low back pain. It is a very common condition characterized by pain along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It supplies 5 spinal nerve levels within the lower back and hips. The pain pattern travels down the back of a person’s leg and may produce functional limitations. Sciatica pain is often produced from a disc herniation or compression of that nerve from a muscle called the piriformis. Sciatica is not to be confused with piriformis syndrome. To help differentiate, sciatica may show one- sided leg pain while piriformis syndrome produces pain in the buttocks region.

Sciatica Presentation and Symptoms:

Sciatic nerve pain is often described as a “sharp,” “tingling,” “cramping” or “burning” sensation extending from the low back into the hips/ buttocks and sometimes past the knee and into the foot. Sciatic pain is more common in only one leg but can be present in both. Sciatica can affect patients of any age due to a variety of causes. One of the most common causes is a bulging disc where the disc places pressure on the nerve causing pain. Another common cause of sciatica is disc degeneration. Disc degeneration leads to a decrease in disc height, which can put pressure on a nerve and cause pain. Another and much less common cause of sciatica is compression by the piriformis muscle. This is sometimes called “piriformis syndrome”.

Compression of the sciatic nerve can be caused by different mechanisms – ranging from too much movement to not enough. Sciatica is often seen in runners and other athletes who put repeated pressure on their hips and back. Moreover, sciatica is very common in people who are sedentary throughout the day. Constant sitting can also irritate nerve.

Regardless of the reason a person is having sciatica pain, a chiropractic evaluation is a good first step. When a person reports to a chiropractor for these symptoms, the chiropractor will be able to determine if conservative care is the right course of action or if other treatments such as pain management are needed.

QAPE It Sciatica


Sciatica is one of the more common conditions seen by a chiropractic office. Common causes include things such as posture, prolonged sitting, tight or inflamed muscles, and arthritis of the hip. The doctors will discuss the onset, symptoms, and pain patterns to determine what assessments can and should be done.


Combination of Chiropractic, manual stretching and mobilization of the lower back and hip muscles. Begin trial of care for a few weeks. Additional self management strategies such as stretching and low back exercises may be recommended depending on the case. 


Postural assessments, palpation, possibly X-rays, and tests of motion and mobility will be done to diagnose where the pain is coming from and why.


During treatment some progress/change should be noted at each visit. If no progress is being made after 2-3 visits a re-evaluation may be necessary leading to a change in plan. If the treatment is working, visits may extend past 2 weeks to achieve maximum medical improvement.

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