rectangle logo




Sciatica is a neurological condition that presents with pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. This is the longest single nerve in the body. The path of the sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the legs.

Sciatica can cause a wide range of symptoms, including pain that radiates from the lower back and down the leg, tingling or numbness in the leg, and weakness in the leg. The severity of the symptoms can vary from one patient to another.

On this page, we will cover the signs and symptoms of sciatica, as well as the most common causes of this disease. After that, we will discuss the research that focuses on the benefits of chiropractic care in managing sciatica.

What are the signs and symptoms of sciatica?

One of the most common symptoms of sciatica is pain that radiates from the lower back and down the leg. This pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation. The pain is often worse when sitting or standing for long periods of time. Conversely, lying down or walking can reduce its severity.

Other common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the leg
  • Weakness in the leg or foot
  • Difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Muscle spasms or cramping in the leg or buttocks

In addition to these physical symptoms, sciatica can also trigger psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. This is because chronic pain can take a toll on a person’s mental health. Moreover, the inability to perform certain activities due to the pain often precipitates feelings of frustration and helplessness. Sciatica can also cause bowel or bladder trouble. However, this is relatively uncommon.

Make sure to seek professional help as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

It is also important to take steps to prevent sciatica from occurring altogether. This may include:

  • Maintaining good posture
  • Engaging in regular exercise and stretching
  • Using proper lifting techniques

What are the causes of sciatica?

There are several factors that may be the triggers of sciatica, including:

Herniated disc – A herniated disc develops when the soft center of a spinal disc swells out through a tear in the outer ring. Consequently, the sciatic nerve will be compressed, leading to pain.

Spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spaces within the spine become narrowed. This puts pressure on multiple nerves, including the sciatic nerve.

Spondylolisthesis – This condition occurs when one vertebra slips forward over another one. As a result, the sciatic nerve might get compressed.

Piriformis syndrome – The piriformis is a small muscle located in the buttocks that helps to rotate the leg outward. If this muscle becomes tight, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Pregnancy – The weight and pressure of a growing baby can put a strain on the lower back and cause sciatica.

Obesity – Being overweight also places more pressure on your spine and increases your risk of sciatica.

Diabetes – People with diabetes are more likely to develop nerve damage.

Poor posture – Slouching or sitting for long periods of time can lead to muscle imbalances and strain on the lower back.

How can chiropractic care help with sciatica

There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of chiropractic care in the management of sciatica.

One study found that chiropractic care was more effective at reducing pain and improving function in people with sciatica compared to traditional medical care. Another study demonstrated that chiropractic care is as effective as physiotherapy in the management of sciatica.

Aside from reducing pain and improving function, chiropractic care may also offer additional benefits to people with sciatica. For instance, a study showed that chiropractic care was associated with a decrease in the intake of painkillers among sciatica patients. This is extremely important since the long-term side effects of painkillers can wreak havoc on numerous organ systems.

Some people may rely on at-home exercise programs to relieve their pain. While this is an effective way to feel better, research showed that chiropractic care is more effective in addressing sciatica-related pain. In addition, chiropractic care also improves sciatica-triggered disability. This can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.

Finally, chiropractic care proved to be effective in the management of tingling, numbness, and weakness of the leg, according to a systematic review published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

Overall, the scientific evidence proves that chiropractic care is a safe and effective modality to treat people with sciatica.

How long does chiropractic care take to treat sciatica

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long it takes for chiropractic care to help patients with sciatica. The duration of treatment can vary depending on the severity of your condition. The technique used by your practitioner will also play a role.

For instance, the study that focused on pain and function improvement recruited 50 patients. These participants received chiropractic care for 6 weeks. At the follow-up, researchers compared their progress to a control group that didn’t receive chiropractic care. The results were clearly in favor of chiropractic care.

As for the systematic review, it analyzed 13 randomized controlled clinical trials. Collectively, these studies involved 895 patients. The average duration for the studies was about 4–6 weeks. This shows that even a few sessions of chiropractic care can lead to impressive improvements on the clinical level.

Takeaway message

Sciatica is an extremely common condition that affects millions of people. The absence of a cure for this condition and the challenging aspects of treatment encourage people to seek more natural therapies, such as chiropractic care.

We hope that this article managed to explain the symptoms and causes of sciatica and the role of chiropractic care in its management.

If you have questions about sciatica or chiropractic care, feel free to use the contact us page to get in touch!