Last month I had two patients who came to my clinic because they thought they had sciatica pain. One of the patients has self diagnosed himself and the other patient was diagnosed by a medical doctor. Both of these patients had excruciating pain in their lower back, which radiated down to a lower extremity. It is very common that many patients will wait for their pain to go away with rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medication. As a result, pain symptoms will get worse and get to the point where pain medications will stop working.
The first patient was a male in his early 60’s. He came to my clinic on his crutches. The pain level was so intense that he was not able to support his upper body. The pain would shoot all the way down his right lower extremity past the knee level but did not effect his toes. After thorough examination it was evident that his right SI (sacroiliac joint) was about 2 inches lower than the left SI joint. All of the nerves that were exiting from sacral foraminas (openings) were very irritated and inflamed. Every time this gentleman would place a load on his legs he would cry and I could see tears of pain on his face. After three sessions of full spine chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy (moist heat and electrical stimulation) and deep tissue massage from my CMT (Certified Massage Therapist) he was completely free of pain. I have recommended him to stop by once or twice a month for maintenance care in order to avoid future flare up and pain.
The second patient was a female in her early 50’s. She has had very similar symptoms as the patient I have mentioned above. Her medical Doctor diagnosed her with sciatica and prescribed her pain medications, which eventually stopped working. The examination finding were very similar to a patient I have mentioned above, except the part that the pain symptoms were on a left side. The pain intensity was so great that it would wake her up at night. The treatment parameters were the same with addition of stretching to her lower back and some dietary changes. She was also advised on taking more frequent brakes from prolonged sitting that her job required. After 4 sessions she was pain free and was advised on a once a month maintenance care.
Sciatica Pain and Misaligned Sacroiliac Joint are two conditions that can be misdiagnosed or misunderstood by patients and other medical care providers. It takes much longer for a patient with Sciatica nerve entrapment to respond to a care. Often times Sciatic Pain is presented in athletes with intense training. In conclusion I would like to say that it is important to treat the cause of the problem instead of masking it with pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications. The sooner the cause is fixed the faster the road to recovery is.