Sciatica is a common condition that causes pain along the sciatic nerve. If you’ve ever experienced this sharp, shooting pain down your lower back and legs, you know how disruptive it can be to your daily life. To shed light on effective treatment options, we had the opportunity to interview Dr. Sheldon Stuckart, one of our very own highly experienced chiropractors at Kaizo Health. In this interview, Dr. Stuckart shares his expertise and insights into chiropractic care for sciatica, offering valuable advice for managing and alleviating this condition.
Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain, tingling, and numbness along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs. The pain is caused by pressure being applied to the sciatic nerve. Oftentimes, the pressure comes from a herniated disc (also referred to as a bulging disc, ruptured disc, slipped disc). However, other factors like spinal immobility, muscle tightness or compensations, and inflammation can also contribute to the condition. Differentiating sciatica from general back pain is crucial, as targeted treatment is essential for effective relief.
Common sciatica symptoms:
- Pain in the buttocks and/or leg that is worse when sitting
- Burning and/or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A constant pain on one side of the buttocks
- A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
The Role of Chiropractic Care in Sciatica Treatment
Chiropractic care takes a holistic approach to pain management, focusing on addressing the root cause of the issue rather than just symptom suppression. Dr. Stuckart emphasizes that chiropractic adjustments help mobilize the spine and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve as well as reduce inflammation. These manual adjustments can provide immediate relief for many patients and often play a key role in the overall treatment plan.
Interview with Dr. Sheldon Stuckart
Watch the full interview here:
Q: As a chiropractor, what is your perspective on sciatica and its impact on patients?
A: “Sciatica actually affects a lot of individuals, especially with working from home nowadays and sitting a lot. A majority of the patients I see have low back pain related to sciatica or multiple sciatica symptoms. People can experience the symptoms worse when they’re sitting longer for prolonged periods of times that could be at work or driving or just at a computer.”
Q: How do you typically diagnose and treat sciatica?
A: “A good history is the first line of defense or our detective skills for chiropractors and physicians. Basically we just have to figure out what the symptoms are, when do they occur, what are you doing when [there’s pain] and how long it’s been. Asking the right questions and doing the right movement assessments to figure out if it’s sciatica or if it’s something else causing the pain. Once we diagnose, I will prescribe the appropriate treatment plan for the patient with both in clinic treatments and at-home exercises.”
Q: What are some treatments you use to address sciatica?
A: “So treatment includes chiropractic adjustments, flexion-distraction stretches, lumbar core stability exercises and distraction techniques so we can open up the space [in the low back] and make sure it’s moving. We also want to treat the pain in the glutes, so we would use techniques to release this piriformis and glute muscles such as manual therapy and massage work.
We want to make sure the spine is moving well enough and the surrounding muscles are not stiff so that it doesn’t just keep getting worse or build up scar tissue or adhesions in the surrounding muscles.”
Q: Do you have a preferred method for treating sciatica?
A: “So I definitely would want to mobilize and manipulate the spine first to ensure it’s healthy and mobile. A lot of people, you know, even if they don’t have sciatica, have low back pain. So it can be early signs of sciatica.
And then dry kneeling is really good manual therapy technique as well.
Dry kneeling uses monofilament needles and intramuscular stimulation where it penetrates the tissue of the muscle that’s really tight or locked up. It breaks, breaks up the scar tissue, increases blood flow and circulation, and also basically tells the body start healing the area.”
Dr. Sheldon helping a patient get a deeper piriformis stretch during treatment.
Q: How long is treatment for sciatica at the chiropractor?
A: “Great question. So if it’s muscular, then easy, we can fix that right away. We often see patients experience relief at the first visit. Typically, patients can expect relief within 1-5 treatments.
If it’s more complicated, then it might take a little bit longer. For example, if it’s coming from the low back and there’s more comorbidities, or if there’s more structures involved that’s causing the pinching of the nerve root, then it might take a little longer, but at least we’re on the right path.
It’s also dependent on if the patient does their home-exercise plan. If a patient has a desk job and they sit all day, I can give them recommendations on more ergonomic chairs or desks so that the symptoms don’t occur. But it’s very important to stick with those recommendations outside of the clinic.”
Q: Are there any recommendations you have for people to do at home for sciatica?
A: “Absolutely. If you think you have sciatica, the first thing you should do is go to your local chiropractor or healthcare provider. You want to get a proper diagnosis before doing anything.
There’s also some things that you can try at home. If you have a foam roller, you can roll out the piriformis muscle that’s found in your glute area. If you have a lacrosse ball, you can also try that out. There’s also a lot of mobility exercises that you can do for your hip and your low back.”
Advice and Tips for Managing Sciatica at Home
Dr. Stuckart shared some valuable tips for individuals seeking relief from sciatica in the comfort of their homes:
- Perform gentle stretches: Regularly stretching the lower back, glutes and and hamstring muscles can help alleviate sciatic pain – piriformis stretches especially!
- Practice good ergonomics in the office: Maintaining proper mobility in your posture, taking breaks from sitting for long periods of time and getting your blood circulating with a light 10-minute walk can provide a lot of relief on a daily basis.
- Apply heat or ice: Applying a heating pad or ice pack to the affected area can offer temporary relief from pain and inflammation. Do what your body responds best to and is most relieving for you.
While home remedies may provide some relief, consulting a chiropractor like Dr. Sheldon Stuckart can offer more comprehensive and personalized treatment options. Chiropractic care, combined with lifestyle changes, can lead to significant improvements in managing and alleviating sciatica pain. Remember, early intervention is key, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you experience sciatica symptoms.
If you’re suffering from sciatica, take charge of your health and seek guidance from a qualified chiropractor. With the right approach and support, you can regain control of your life and bid farewell to sciatica pain.
Get Treated At Kaizo Health
Our goal at Kaizo Health is to always get you back to feeling 100%. Our doctors provide treatment to help you be pain-free. We also have a dedicated team that will work with you and your insurance. We want to make sure you get the most from your benefits. You should experience relief for as little cost to you as possible. If you are ready to experience relief from the pain, make an appointment to see us now.
Kaizo Health has 4 locations in the DMV area:
Our chiropractors use an evidence-based approach by combining chiropractic care and individualized rehabilitative exercises. We provide the treatment and resources you need to recover your health. We are here to help!