Sciatica and arthritis pain are unfortunately common. Sciatica is a pain-related symptom that multiple conditions, including arthritis, can cause. Arthritis affects around 21% of all adults in the U.S., while sciatica affects around 40%.
Additionally, those with arthritis are at a higher risk of developing sciatica than those without it, as arthritis is linked to the irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
When sciatica flares and causes muscle weakness and other health issues, chiropractic care can help. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation (including back and neck adjustments) and other techniques to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve, fix spinal misalignment, and help get you moving again.
How Spinal Misalignment Influences Sciatica & Back Pain
The sciatic nerve primarily runs down the lower back to the hips and the leg and has L4, L5, S1, and S2 nerve roots near the end of the spine. The lower back region can be injured easily and is prone to repetitive strain injuries, disc herniation, and disc degeneration. Sciatica is typically caused by herniated or degenerated discs because these discs add pressure to the sciatic nerve, causing pain and/or dysfunction.
Spinal misalignment from injuries and conditions like scoliosis can also increase wear and tear on the vertebrae and discs, which increases the risk of disc herniation and developing sciatica.
Misalignment also influences other types of back pain. When the spine is misaligned, it can compress nerves between vertebrae, cause an imbalance in muscle tension, and impact the normal flow of blood and nutrients to the spine, all of which increase back pain symptoms.
How Chiropractic Care Helps
Spinal manipulation, a form of chiropractic care, is often used as a treatment method for sciatica because it helps realign the spine and take pressure off the sciatic nerve. These gentle manipulations also help reduce muscle spasms and address tenderness common with arthritis.
During a chiropractic adjustment, a type of spinal manipulation, the doctor will apply controlled force to the joints of the spine with their hands or with a specialized, small instrument. These minor adjustments can help realign the spine into a position where the nerves and muscles work most effectively.
Additional Tips to Manage Sciatica & Arthritis Pain
While you wait for your next visit to the chiropractor, there are some steps you can take to manage sciatica and arthritis pain at home:
- Stretch regularly. Whether you sit in a chair for work or stand all day, stretching helps loosen up tight muscles and can prevent muscle spasms that may lead to pain.
- Get a massage. Consider getting a massage in the week or two between your chiropractic visits. Massages help reduce stiffness, pain, and inflammation and improve circulation.
- Use hot or cold packs. Hot showers, heating pads, and warm baths can help ease tight muscles and reduce pain, while ice packs will soothe inflammation.
Schedule a Consultation With Total Health Systems
You don’t have to live in pain. Find relief at Total Health Systems. Our chiropractic doctors can help reduce discomfort and sciatica caused by arthritis and other conditions so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.