Sciatica can be an extremely incapacitating condition, causing radiating pain along the course of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve, which originates from nerves in the lower back, runs through the buttock, down the back of the leg into the calf on both sides of the body. Most people with sciatica describe their pain as stabbing or burning, and some may even experience numbness or weakness of the affected leg.
Standard Treatment Options for Sciatica
A quick internet search or visit to your doctor might yield any combination of the following recommendations to treat sciatica:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID)
- Steroid injections
While these treatment approaches might be good to accomplish short-term relief, if the root cause of your sciatica flare up goes uncorrected, chances are it will recur eventually.
The Problem Might Not Be Your Lower Back
Most people associate sciatica and its treatment with lower back problems. While this might be true in some cases, in others, this is just where the symptoms are showing up. In many of the sciatica cases we see here at The Head and Spine Pain Center, while the pain and discomfort are found in the lower back and down the leg, the real cause of the problem can be traced all the way up the spine to a very specific misalignment found at the base of the skull.
The atlas, the topmost vertebra in your spine, is the most freely movable, providing us with the ability to move our heads through a wide range of motion. Because of that, it is also most likely to shift out of its normal alignment. When this happens, it creates compensations throughout the spine. This can cause abnormal muscle tension, spasms, and create imbalances through the low back, hips, and pelvis. This stress and strain feels bad in the lower back, and may even cause problems that radiate along the sciatic nerve, but the actual source of the problem is at the other end of the spine. Only by correcting the atlas and allowing these compensations to neutralize will lasting relief be accomplished.