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sciatica & Hernia

Sciatica is a radiating nerve pain in the buttock and/or leg. Sciatica is not a diagnosis but a name that describes a symptom or complaint. The name sciatica comes from the name of the nerve: Nervus Ischiadicus. This nerve forms from the lower back and runs through the buttock along the back of the leg to the calf and foot. If there is too much pressure on the nerve anywhere along this pathway, it can become irritated or inflamed. One of the most common causes of sciatica is a herniated disc, but the nerve can also become pinched in other places, such as the buttock. This causes radiating pain in the leg.

A herniated disc (in full: Hernia Nucleus Pulposus, HNP) is a bulging of an intervertebral disc. This bulge presses on a nerve, causing pain in the leg, possibly with symptoms of nerve failure (numbness, loss of strength).

The causes of a herniated disc are not always clear.
It is not always clear why a herniated disc develops. Sometimes it is related to heavy work or work that often involves standing or bending forward. However, a lack of activity and a lot of sitting can also lead to a herniated disc. We know that developing a herniated disc is a gradual process, although the symptoms can begin very suddenly. Hernias are not hereditary but often occur in multiple family members. Possibly this has to do with certain lifestyle habits that increase the risk of a hernia, such as smoking, exercising or not exercising, etc.

By what do you recognize a hernia?

pain or a tingling/deaf feeling in one leg, often also below the knee;
the pain worsens with coughing, sneezing, pushing, and certain positions;
sometimes there may be a loss of strength in the leg;
lower back pain may be present, but leg pain usually predominates.

Consult your doctor
If you have problems with bladder and bowel control, you may have a large hernia called cauda equina syndrome. If so, contact your family doctor urgently for a referral to a neurologist.

At the chiropractor's office
When you first come to the chiropractor, the chiropractor will first ask you questions about your symptoms and do an examination to determine the cause of your problems. You will always be explained the findings, and treatment can be started with your approval. In addition to treatment, your chiropractor will advise you on practical things to make your back easier during recovery, such as posture, lifestyle, and exercises. Suppose additional testing is needed, or there are indications that chiropractic is not your best option. This will be discussed with you in that case, and a referral to your primary care physician will follow.

Treatment lowers pressure on the nerve.
The good news is that most herniated discs recover without surgery, although this can take several months. Often the chiropractor can help speed up the recovery process. The chiropractor has several techniques for treating a herniated disc or for sciatica. The goal is to increase the nerve's space and the area's mobility to reduce nerve irritation. This can include specific stretching or traction techniques, manipulation techniques, and techniques aimed at reducing muscle tension. The treatment itself is usually not painful and is customized to your abilities.

animation of a vertabrae
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