Sciatica: Choosing The Right Doctor

Sciatica: Choosing The Right Doctor

Nerve pain that is felt in the lower back as well down the back of one or both legs is often a sign of sciatica. You may also experience a tingling sensation that moves down the legs. This pain and tingling originates from the sciatic nerve, which is located in that area of the body. 

Sciatica is typically felt along one side of the body and can cause a variety of different symptoms in the lower body. The pain can be so strong that it makes it difficult to stand or move the affected legs and feet. 

Treatment for sciatica includes a variety of options and different methods, including medication, surgery, or one other non-drug and non-surgical option that is often overlooked.

What Causes Sciatica?

In order to understand sciatica, it’s important to understand what causes it. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve, which is located in the lower back and legs, gets pinched. Different things can cause a pinched nerve, including a herniated disc or a bone spur on the vertebrae. 

Risk factors for getting sciatica include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Prolonged periods of sitting

Prevention is possible and involves getting regular exercise, maintaining proper posture, and using correct body movements, particularly when lifting something heavy. You can improve your spinal health by regularly seeing a chiropractor, who can ensure that your nerves aren’t being pinched in your back and neck. 

How Is Sciatica Treated?

While it’s possible for sciatica pain to go away on its own with time and proper self-care methods, that option is not always feasible or guaranteed. To ensure that sciatica is treated properly, you’ll want to visit a healthcare professional. The question is, which doctor should you see?

Medical Doctor for Sciatica

Many people opt to see their primary physician to treat sciatica pain. This is the safe and easy route; however, it lasts indefinitely. Your doctor can prescribe medicine for the pain, which may or may not ease your sciatica symptoms.

The problem with prescription pain medications is that they are often associated with various side effects, which in some cases can be more dangerous than the sciatic pain itself. Prescription drugs which may be recommended by your doctor include opioid and non-opioid options and have side effects that include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling of the extremities
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Addiction to medication

A visit to your primary physician can involve a lot of hope for relief, but often ends with little success. Prescription medications are typically only prescribed for a short period of time – approximately two to six weeks – if over-the-counter medications fail and before invasive treatments are attempted. 

Prescription medications are controversial among doctors not only because of their side effects, but also because of the lack of proven effectiveness for treating sciatica. These medications should be closely monitored and controlled by the physician.

Surgical Doctor for Sciatica

Another option that some people use is a surgical doctor to treat their sciatica pain and symptoms. Typically only a small percentage of patients can find relief from orthopedic surgery, such as a discectomy or laminectomy. Both of these procedures remove the source of sciatic pain, including herniated discs, bone spurs, and other tissues adding pressure to the nerves. 

The problem with surgery is that it involves a lot of risks and is incredibly invasive compared to other options. The cost is excessive, particularly if insurance only covers a portion of the procedure. 

Following sciatic surgery, there is downtime to recover. While this varies from patient to patient, you can expect a minimum of two to four weeks of recovery time. If more than one vertebrae is involved or the procedure is more invasive, it may take even longer to fully recover. 

Finally, you must take into account that surgeries are not always successful. Sometimes, a patient faces the risks and goes through the extensive recovery period only to find out that the pain is still there.

Doctor of Chiropractic for Sciatica

Patients dealing with sciatica should consider consulting a doctor of chiropractic to treat their sciatica symptoms. Chiropractic care is a non-drug, non-surgical option for sciatica patients. It identifies the underlying cause of the pain and tingling and treats the specific reason behind those symptoms, all while leaving your body intact. 

Chiropractic specialists will realign the spine to its natural state, which allows the body the ability to heal itself. There’s no need for invasive procedures or medication-based treatment to ease the pain. 

Chiropractic is a great starting point for sciatica. Sciatic nerve compression, used by your chiropractor, will help reduce or even eliminate the pressure on your nerves. Plus, they can direct you toward proper self-care practices that can help you to help your body heal itself naturally. 

If you are experiencing sciatica pain, it’s time to visit your chiropractor. To learn more about chiropractic care options, schedule a chiropractic appointment online or call us today to find relief from your symptoms.

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