Understanding Sciatica

by Justin Phillips

As a chiropractor, sciatic nerve pain is a primary symptom that I help to relieve on a daily basis. Recently, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about “What is sciatica?” and “What can be causing it?” Sciatic nerve problems can present themselves very differently and can be produced from many different regions. I would like to explain exactly what it is, what causes it, and how it can be treated.

  1. Facts about Sciatica?
    1. The sciatic nerve begins in the lower part of your spine, and runs all the way to your toes
    2. Sciatica can be defined as – pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve
    3. Can range from a mild ache, to a sharp burning pain
  1. Where is it coming from?


The nerve can be irritated at many different regions. The main causes that most patients commonly hear is from a herniated disc or arthritis. I have many patients who have sciatic nerve pain but their discs and bones are very healthy………so where it is coming from? The path of the sciatic nerve exits the spine and runs through muscles in your hip and behind your leg, then through & around your knee, and finally to your foot. This means that it is very likely that the pressure on the sciatic nerve isn’t coming from the bones or discs, but from muscles instead. These muscle spasms can be brought on by the spine and hips rotating out of alignment.

  1. How can it be fixed?
    1. First, you need to figure out where the problem is
      1. Exam, x-rays, orthopedic testing
    2. Depending on the location, your care can differ
      1. Disc herniation – chiropractic care, inversion tables, staying hydrated
      2. Arthritis – chiropractic care, staying active, losing weight, overall movement
      3. Misaligned hips/spine – chiropractic care

The common course of care for sciatica should always involve chiropractic care. Natural care of the spine should always be your first option, not surgery. In most cases, the body can be improved, if not completely fixed, through natural health care and surgery will never be necessary. So, if you are suffering from any sciatic nerve related symptoms, immediately consult your local chiropractor to see what course of action is best for you.

“When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back”