Understanding Sciatica

The Sciatic nerve is a nerve bundle running down the back of your leg with nerves from the lower part of your spine (L4-S3 nerve roots).

The sciatic nerve has two primary functions, controlling the muscles and the sensations to the skin in the leg.

While proper function is critical to many daily tasks such as walking, most people only pay attention to their sciatic nerve when they have pain shooting down their buttock and legs, a condition called sciatica.

Understanding the pain

While many have experienced this debilitating pain, it is often hard to understand how toe and calf pain is related to your back.

The reason lies in the anatomy of the sciatic nerve.

The nerve roots within the sciatic nerve exit the spine through the neuroforamen.

The key is in the source of the pain

There are only two possibilities when subluxation or misalignment in the spine are present;

either the spinal bones (vertebra) compress the nerve directly…

…or the change in positioning of the bones will cause bulging of the disc, which will directly compress the nerve root.

This compressed nerve root will cause one to feel the shooting sciatic pain.

Interestingly, the sources of the pain informs the doctor of diagnosis.

However, the alleviation of pain from an adjustment is not necessarily common knowledge.

How can Chiropractic help?

Chiropractic adjustments will decrease subluxation and relieve pressure on the spinal nerve root exiting the spine.

In fact, the alleviation of pressure can be seen on CAT scans!

A CAT scan study of patients conducted in 1990 of patients experiencing sciatica before and after chiropractic adjustments demonstrated a reduction in disc herniation.

Additionally, the patients reported an increased ability to walk, stand, and lift with minimal issues!

If you or a loved one are struggling with sciatica, please give us a call, come in the office, and let’s treat the root cause of the pain together.


1. Richards GL, Thompson JS, Osterbauer PJ, Fuhr AW. Low Force Chiropractic Care of Two Patients with Sciatic Neuropathy and Lumbar Disc Herniation.Am J Chiropr Med. 1990; 3(1): 25-32.
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