If your sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, the condition is called sciatica (pronounced si-ad’-i-ka). The pain can be intense! It often follows the path of your nerve – down the back of your leg, ankle, foot, and toes – but it can also radiate to your back! Along with burning, sharp pains, you may also feel nerve sensations such as pins-and-needles, tingling, prickling, crawling sensations, or tenderness. Ironically, your leg may also feel numb!
To complicate matters, although sciatica pain is usually in the back of the legs or thighs, some people may feel pain in the front or side of the legs or even in the hips. For some, the pain is in both legs: bilateral sciatica!
The quality of pain may vary. There may be constant throbbing, but then it may let up for hours or even days; it may ache or be knife-like. Sometimes postural changes like lying down or changing positions affect the pain, and sometimes they don’t. In severe cases, sciatica can cause a loss of reflexes or even a wasting of the calf muscles.
For sciatica sufferers, a good night’s sleep may be a thing of the past. Simple things like walking, sitting, or standing up can be difficult or impossible.
As a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, I take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of sciatica. After a thorough neurological exam, I determine which part of the nervous system is not functioning properly. In many sciatica patients, I find a high mesencephalic output.
There are three parts to the brain stem: top, middle and lower. The mesencephalon is the top part of the brain stem. A high output of the mesencephalon will cause an increased pulse and heart rate, the inability to sleep, or a waking, fitful sleep. Other symptoms might include urinary tract infections, increased warmth and sweating, and sensitivity to light. Along with a high mesencephalic output, the migraine patient may present with a decreased output of the cerebellum. The cerebellum controls balance, coordinated movement, and the involuntary muscles of the spinal column.
No matter what the condition, it is imperative that the chiropractic neurologist performs a thorough and comprehensive exam to determine the exact nature of the patient’s condition.