Quick Guide to Sciatica

 In Spine Health


Sciatica is not a diagnosis in and of itself—it is a manifestation of an underlying condition.

The sciatic nerve originates at the lower portion of your spine, between the fourth and fifth lumbar (L4-L5) vertebrae. As the sciatic nerve travels down the spine, it branches down each side of the buttocks, into the thighs, and then to the nerves of the lower legs.

The sciatic nerve, like all spinal nerves, contains tiny neurons that run along the length of the nerve like strands of thread in yarn. When the neurons are pinched, they send the unwanted sensation to the brain to let you know that there is a problem.

What Causes Sciatica?

Have you ever had a quick jolt of pain down the back of your leg when you cough or sneeze? If so, it’s possible that the pain is sciatica.

The spine is under an immense amount of pressure during day-to-day activities. With age, parts of the spine can begin to wear out, or degenerate, and become less able to bear the pressure put on them; this can result in a herniated disc. In 9 out of 10 cases, sciatica is caused by a displaced disc of the lumbar vertebrae.

Compression of the sciatic nerve also occurs in spinal stenosis and piriformis syndrome. In spinal stenosis, the spinal canal is narrow, thereby putting pressure on the nerve. In piriformis syndrome, the piriformis muscle, which is below the glutes, is tight, causing the compression of the sciatic nerve.

sciaticaSciatica Symptoms

An estimated 70% of people will experience low back pain sometime in their lives. Sciatica can vary from intermittent and grating to persistent and debilitating—it frequently has one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Constant pain in one side of the buttock—pain is rarely on both sides
  • Pain may radiate down the leg and possibly into the foot and toes
  • Often characterized by a shooting leg pain described as burning, hot, or tingling
  • Worse when sitting, but the sharp pain may also make it difficult to stand up or walk.

Treatment Options for Sciatica

Many people have busy lives that do not allow for down time to heal as rest is als Even if the pain does go away, the underlying condition must be treated in order to prevent relapse. Green Oaks Spine & Sport offers tow common and effective solutions for Sciatica that treats nerve pain in the long-term.




Chiropractic Care

A 2010 study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports that 60% of people with sciatic nerve pain experienced the same degree of pain relief from chiropractic care as people who received surgical treatment.

The participants in the study saw a chiropractor an average of three times per week for four weeks, then decreased to weekly visits, and eventually tapered off care as they felt better. In people who responded positively to chiropractic care, the benefits lasted up to a year.

Many forms of chiropractic spinal manipulation have been shown to provide pain relief and help restore normal mobility to an injury. The controlled movement of the spine improves the body’s natural healing mechanisms by increasing blood flow and gas exchange in the surrounding area.


Green Oaks Spine & Sport has experienced Active Release technique (ART) doctors who are familiar with treating Sciatica.   Many times, the sciatic nerve gets stuck between the piriformis muscle and surrounding muscles, in the hamstring, or even where the nerve exits the spine.  Active Release Technique provides nerve entrapment protocols which have shown to be an effective treatment for Sciatica caused by nerve entrapments.





Impact of Yoga on Low Back Pain and Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis: https://www.omicsonline.org/impact-of-yoga-on-low-back-pain-and-function-a-systematic-review-and-meta-analysis-2157-7595.1000120.php?aid=7761

Trend of the Incidence of Lumbar Disc Herniation: Decreasing with Aging in he Elderly: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743527/

Getting a Leg Up on Sciatica: http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/getting-a-leg-up-on-sciatica

Manipulation or Microdiskectomy for Sciatica? A Prospective Randomized Clinical Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21036279

The Neurophysiological Response to Manual Therapy and Its Analgesic Implications: https://dx.doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.996v2

Effect of Iyengar Yoga Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1583697

7 Poses to Soothe Sciatica: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/7-poses-to-soothe-sciatica

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