girl with back hurting

What Is Sciatica and Can a Chiropractor Help?

That stinging, burning, or tingling sensation that radiates into your buttock or down one or both of your legs may not always be ordinary pain. It might be sciatica. 

However, it is essential to note that self-diagnosis is not recommended. But seeking the help of a specialist is important to accurately assess and treat sciatica. 

So, keep reading to learn more about sciatica and how a chiropractor might be able to help you. 

What is Sciatica? 

Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve roots become irritated by pressure which causes tingling, numbness, or (sharp or dull) pain and/or burning.

The sciatic nerve is the body’s most prominent and longest main nerve. It is a thick flat band found on the lower limb that extends down your lower back through the buttock, then down the rear of your leg to the ankle and foot. 

What Causes Sciatica? 

Several circumstances that can cause sciatic nerve compression are shown in the table below: 

Condition How it causes sciatica
Herniated disc Misaligned lower back vertebrae puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain and/or other symptoms. 
Spinal stenosis This condition is brought on by spinal canal narrowing which can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Osteoarthritis This joint disease damages the disc cushioning and cartilage between the spinal column’s bones. As the injury progresses, there is a higher probability of disc issues, and the sciatic nerve becomes irritated or inflamed.
Pinched nerves Sciatica develops when the sciatic nerve is compressed and becomes pinched. While some people may confuse a pinched nerve with sciatica, sciatica is a pinched nerve that only affects the sciatic nerve. While sciatica begins as nerve inflammation, sciatica can cause nerve damage if left untreated.
Degenerative disc Disc degeneration that affects the lumbar spine can cause low back pain or irritation/compression of a spinal nerve. This can cause pain, numbness, tingling, burning or a combination of those symptoms to radiate down the leg (sciatica). Generalized lower back pain causes pain localized to the lower back. 

What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica? 

Sciatica symptoms vary based on the underlying cause of the condition, but they commonly include 

  • Lower back pain that is acute, searing, or shooting 
  • Buttock pain felt on one side of the body 
  • Leg pain, tingling, or numbness in the affected leg or foot 
  • Weakness in the affected leg making it difficult to walk and stand 
  • Difficulty moving or doing daily tasks
  • Pain when standing from sitting
  • In severe cases, a loss of bladder or bowel control

What Can Worsen Sciatica Symptoms 

If diagnosed with sciatica, you may need to change some of your everyday activities or behaviours. These include

1. Wearing Uncomfortable Shoes 

If you walk in high heels or casual shoes like flip flops, the absence of cushion in these shoes makes it necessary to shift your weight. Then you apply additional pressure to the front of the foot. 


If you have sciatica, wear comfortable shoes. Shoes that offer appropriate support, cushioning, and stability may relieve the discomfort by putting less strain on the sciatic nerve. Additionally, having good posture can help relieve sciatica pain, as can wearing shoes with a low heel and good fit. 

2. Sitting Down Too Long 

Sitting for an extended period puts strain on your glute muscles, lower back, and buttocks. It results in discomfort because it further compresses the sciatic nerve. 


Move around as much as possible to alleviate pressure on your sciatic nerve and to get your blood flowing. It is recommended to get up every half an hour to stand for a few minutes. 

Gentle physical activity can help reduce pain and stiffness. Physical activity relieves muscle tension, increases circulation, and can reduce pain and stiffness. 

However, follow your Chiropractor’s recommendations for exercises appropriate for your specific sciatica condition. Some activities can make symptoms worse, so be careful. Avoid activities that place considerable strain on the lower back, such as heavy lifting, twisting, or repetitive bending

3. Overweight With Minimal to No Exercise 

When you have a lot of body fat around your belly, you strain your pelvis and that causes your lower back to become hyperextended which increases the pressure. 

Additionally, carrying too much weight strains the spine, which can result in sciatica-causing spinal issues, including herniated disc conditions. Being overweight can also affect how the body distributes weight, which will alter your standing posture and puts further strain on the lower back.

A lack of exercise contributes to weakened muscles, especially in your lower back and core, which makes you slouch and will aggravate sciatica. 


To help minimise sciatica pain, losing the additional weight, incorporating an exercise routine (approved by your practitioner) and stretching is greatly recommended. 

This can improve flexibility, posture, and minimize strain on the sciatic nerve.

Losing weight may also assist in relieving strain on the lower back, which may help to diminish the risk of sciatica or lessen its symptoms. 

Meanwhile, stretching can help increase flexibility, lessen muscular tension, and promote circulation, all of which can help relieve sciatica pain. Legs, hips, and lower back are perfect areas to stretch. 

Can a Chiropractor Help With Sciatica? 

Sciatica can be treated with chiropractic treatments. A Chiropractor is trained to detect and treat sciatica. They employ various methods, including spinal adjustments and soft tissue therapies to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve and enhance general spinal function. 

As a result, chiropractic adjustments may help relieve sciatica symptoms by lowering swelling and inflammation, realigning the spine, and enhancing blood flow to the affected area. These treatments help improve  range of motion, decrease pressure on the nerve, lessen muscle spasms, and decrease discomfort. 

However, remember that each person with sciatica has a unique experience, and what works for one person may not work for another. Consequently, your chiropractor will work with you and your general practitioner to create a treatment plan that considers your specific symptoms, medical history, and overall well-being. 

At Daye Chiropractic, Sciatica is one of the most common conditions we treat. Our Chiropractors will perform a  comprehensive examination.  This examination includes neurological and orthopaedic testing and will determine how to treat your condition.  Contact us to begin your journey to sciatica relief and stop suffering in silence. It is time to live your optimal life!

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