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Chiropractic Victoria

What is Sciatica?

Many patients in Victoria BC confuse Sciatica with traditional back pain. They are very different Sciatica is a term that describes symptoms of pain, numbness, and/or weakness that radiate along the sciatic nerve from the lower back to the buttocks and leg.  The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy. The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.

What causes Sciatica?

There are many causes of sciatica, the most common cause is disc herniation, other causes are degeneration, bone spurs, and spinal stenosis which compress  the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body; it branches from the lumbar spine on each side of the vertebra and travels, to the hips, buttocks, back of legs and all the way down to the foot.

Can I prevent Sciatica?

It’s not always possible to prevent sciatica, and the condition may recur. The following can play a key role in protecting your back:

  • Exercise regularly. To keep your back strong, pay special attention to your core muscles — the muscles in your abdomen and lower back that are essential for proper posture and alignment. Ask your doctor to recommend specific activities.
  • Maintain proper posture when you sit. Choose a seat with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.
  • Use good body mechanics. If you stand for long periods, rest one foot on a stool or small box from time to time. When you lift something heavy, let your lower extremities do the work. Move straight up and down. Keep your back straight and bend only at the knees. Hold the load close to your body. Avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Find a lifting partner if the object is heavy or awkward.

What are the symptoms?

Sciatica usually starts with chronic pursuant low back pain, where the sciatic nerve becomes irritated and inflamed. Pain is described as unrelenting low back pain accompanied with numbness and tingling that radiates usually on one side but can be on both sides. In severe cases, the pain is sharp shooting or burring that radiates to the hip buttocks and sometimes all the way down the leg to foot.

How is it treated?

Often people will turn to medication to relieve pain, and although medications may provide temporally relief, it does not address the root of the problem. A good analogy is if your brake light is flashing on your car, covering up the light will stop the flashing, but will not fix your brakes.

The chiropractic care offered at Geometry in Victoria can be very successful in treating the source of the sciatic pain by working with the soft tissue, ligaments and joints, there by releasing the pressure on the nerve, and restoring proper function. If pain persists and you have numbness in saddle area, muscle weakness or loss of bowel or bladder it is advised to seek medical attention promptly

When should I see a Chiropractor?

Mild sciatica usually goes away over time. See a chiropractor if self-care measures fail to ease your symptoms or if your pain lasts longer than a week, is severe or becomes progressively worse. Always seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have sudden, severe pain in your low back or leg and numbness or muscle weakness in your leg
  • The pain follows a violent injury, such as a traffic accident
  • You have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder


Geometry Integrated Health offers Chiropractic care in Victoria BC.  We are located downtown next to the YMCA and are open 7 days a week.  Wether you are recovering from an injury, looking to manage chronic pain or are interested in the many benefits chiropractic has to offer or just looking for a chiropractor in Victoria BC, check out our Chiropractor Dr. Dawn McElgunn  and take advantage of our online booking and direct billing.


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