7 Sciatica Myths vs. Facts

7 Sciatica Myths vs. Facts

Sciatica pain occurs anywhere along the large nerve, or sciatic nerve, that runs down the lower spine and into the legs. When the pain is severe, you want nothing more than to make it go away. Let us break down the facts vs. the myths so you can get on the road to recovery.

Sciatica can result in numbness or pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve which runs from the lower spine down the backs of the legs. The pain is the result of compression of the sciatic nerve and the pain can range from mild to excruciating. If you are experiencing sciatic nerve pain you may have heard a lot of information about the condition, but what are facts vs. fiction? Read on to find out. 

Myth 1: Sciatica is a Condition or a Diagnosis

The fact of the matter is, sciatica is really a symptom that indicates the nerve is being irritated. This makes it incredibly important to find the cause of the pressure on the nerve so the condition causing sciatica can be treated and relieve the symptoms.

Myth 2: All Leg Pain is Sciatica

You often hear that leg pain equals sciatica, but that’s not always true. Leg pain can be the result of many things including vascular issues, muscle strains, joint issues, or other nerve related issues. True sciatica results in pain that runs from the mid-buttock down the back of the leg and commonly runs past the knee and down through the calf. 

Myth 3: We Don’t Know the Cause of Sciatica

Sciatica results when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or pinched and that is often caused by a herniated or bulging disc between the vertebrae of the lower spine. The condition may also be caused by a bony growth, such as a bone spur, or by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. In rare cases it may be caused by a tumor on the spine. 

Fact 1: Sciatica Can Cause Permanent Damage

Many people mistakenly believe that sciatica may be a pain but that it won’t cause permanent damage. The reality is that in severe cases, damage or irritation to the sciatic nerve can result in permanent nerve damage. This can lead to muscle weakness, loss of balance, inability to walk or stand for long periods of time, and bowel or bladder issues.

Fact 2: You Should Avoid Long Periods of Inactivity and Stay Active

It is a common misconception that you should try to rest and stay immobile when suffering from sciatic nerve pain, but the truth is that staying active can be effective pain relief and help heal the underlying problem. While limited movement and rest may help when sciatica first flares up, long periods of inactivity typically make the pain worse. Activity can also help prevent future recurrences by improving muscle and bone strength and promoting healing in damaged and inflamed tissues. 

Fact 3: Sciatica May Reoccur

Many cases of sciatica can be resolved in four to six weeks, but the pain may recur or progress over time. It is important to seek professional help with sciatica to prevent permanent damage and adjust the duration and intensity of the pain by treating the underlying condition. 

Fact 4: You Don’t Need to Suffer from Sciatica

Unfortunately, many people believe sciatica cannot be treated–or at least with nonsurgical options. Luckily, a focused treatment plan from your chiropractor that may include adjustments, stretching, and other treatment modalities, can treat the underlying condition and prevent suffering from becoming long-term. 

Let Our Professionals Ease Your Sciatic Pain

You know that chiropractors are great at treating back and neck pain, but they are also trained to treat leg pain resulting from sciatica. That is done by identifying the cause and treating that rather than the symptom. There is no need to suffer. Prioritize your health. Schedule an appointment online or call 256-721-9696. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.