Natural Therapies for Sciatica
Sciatica is a condition where pain results from the suppression, inflammation and/or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain and on a more broader sense, low back pain, commonly affects nearly 1 in 5 people in North America. It is a debilitating and frustrating condition that results in lost time from work and more importantly restricted physical mobility. It is characterized as sharp and shooting pain that radiates down one or both legs (side or back of the leg) and extends into the calf and/or ankle region. The inability to sit, stand or walk properly can also affect the psychological well being of someone suffering from this pain.
The causes of sciatica can vary, however these are the most commonly seen in clinical practice:
A. Poor Posture – Individuals that sit at a desk or stand on their feet for prolonged periods of time in order to complete their daily work tasks are susceptible to this injury. Along with the prolonged postures, if they display weak core/abdominal strength then the integrity of the low back and sacral regions are compromised thus causing compression of the sciatic nerve.
B. Herniated or Bulging Disc – Trauma, injury, many years of poor posture and genetics plays a significant role in having herniated or bulging discs. Individuals with this cause tend to display aggressive symptoms.
C. Stress/Anger – In Chinese Medicine Theory, the Gallbladder meridian/channel runs along the sciatic nerve. Prolonged and/or suppressed anger (the emotion that governs the Liver/Gallbladder organ system) causes the stagnation of energy in this channel, eventually leading to pain. Also, prolonged heightened stress levels weaken adrenal (kidney) function and in Acupuncture theory the kidneys maintain the strength of the lower back musculature thus resulting in lower back and/or sciatic pain.
D. Diet – Consuming foods that create an inflammatory response in the body have been known to induce nerve like pain symptoms. A diet comprised of refined sugars, saturated fats alcohol and caffeine create an acidic environment.
Natural supplements that are also helpful when treating sciatica include the following however, you have to be patient with the recovery it may take up to 3 months of continued use for the effects to be noticeable.
A. Anti-oxidants – Anti-oxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and Selenium help control oxidative damage by neutralizing free radicals thus controlling and reducing inflammation.
B. Omega 3 Oil – These decrease the body’s production of a long list of pro-inflammatory bio-chemicals, including the same ones targeted by most NSAID’s. Recommended to take Krill Oil, 1000 mg to 3000 mg daily.
C. Bromelain – An anti-inflammatory enzyme that is obtained from the stem and fruit of pineapple’s.
D. Curcumin – This is an ingredient of the spice Turmeric, found in Curry. It has been known to reduce and in most cases eliminate inflammation in the joints.
While the above mentioned factors seem to be the most common, there may potentially be many more causes. Being in health care for many years, the path to healing requires that the patient also do their part to achieve optimum health. That is to say, as practitioners, we facilitate and guide you in the proper direction however your effort and willingness to implement changes that are required for recovery is as much an integral part of that healing process. Sciatica is a very common condition that we see at Yonge Finch Chiropractic and Health Centre and one that we successfully treat when combining acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic treatments.
Through a detailed initial assessment and evaluation we are able to have an understanding of the origin and cause of pain. Once this is discovered, the treatment plan will become clear and specific. Encompassing an integrative approach whereby we incorporate the different healing modalities available we are then able to attack the issue on many levels.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your health, I encourage you to contact us at Yonge Finch Chiropractic and Health Centre at 416-218-8870.
To your health,
Shant Filo D.Ac
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