Chiropractic for sciatica is one of the most popular and widely practiced healing arts used for radicular pain conditions. Chiropractic focuses its treatment on the back and spine and chiropractors are truly back, neck and sciatica specialists.
This essay will provide patients with an overview of using chiropractic to treat sciatic nerve symptoms. We will expose the weaknesses of chiropractic care, as well as extol the many benefits offered to some patients.
What is Chiropractic for Sciatica?
Chiropractic for sciatica utilizes a variety of treatment modalities, but mainly concentrates on using specialized manual spinal manipulations called adjustments. Chiropractic theory states that in order for the body to be optimized for health, the central neurological pathways must remain open and unrestricted. This is a very similar theory to the beliefs and practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, in Oriental Medicine, doctors concentrate on keeping qi/chi passageways open, while chiropractors focus on making sure the spine is perfectly aligned.
Many chiropractors also use various other forms of complementary treatment including massage therapy, nutritional counseling, TENS treatment and exercises for sciatica. Chiropractic treatment is highly customizable and most patients will receive a combination of targeted care for whatever ails them, as well as maintenance and preventative care to improve overall health.
Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatic Nerve Pain
Chiropractors mostly believe that their healing art does not particularly work to correct injury or disease. Instead, they acknowledge their limited abilities to maximize the body’s own potential to heal by making sure the spine is healthy and free from what are known as subluxations.
A subluxation is when a vertebral bone is out of alignment, potentially causing pain and improper neurological function. While chiropractic has achieved worldwide recognition as an effective healing art, many medical doctors are still not convinced that a chiropractic defined subluxation is even possible or if a vertebral bone can be replaced using the manual pressure applied during a typical spinal adjustment.
Chiropractors will generally treat the entire spine, regardless of where the patient has symptoms, but will pay extra attention to problematic regions. One of the big criticisms of chiropractic therapy is that by nature, it must continue on and on, in order to remain effective. There is rarely a case where a patient is told to come for say 20 sessions and then is finished.
Far more likely, the chiropractor will do everything in their power to make this patient a permanent customer of their practice, even if their intentions are purely benign and not exclusively economically-motivated.
My Experience with Chiropractic for Sciatica
I began seeing a chiropractor as my very first back pain care provider at the age of 16. I continued under constant chiropractic care for 18 full years, without missing more than a week in between treatments. Typically, I would go an average of 2 times a week for that entire period of my life, so you can see how many spinal adjustments I must have received.
I have been treated by dozens of chiropractors all around the world and still consider many to be my good friends. I have enjoyed many health blessings from chiropractic and have certainly used the treatment to overcome many injuries. I have also had many bad experiences with spinal adjustments and have been seriously hurt on more than one occasion by a chiropractor.
Regardless of my bad experiences, I can not help but to acknowledge that despite its weaknesses, mythologies and inconsistencies, there is far more good than bad in chiropractic treatment. This is especially true if you are lucky enough to find an excellent doctor. I have found several.
My biggest criticisms of chiropractic are twofold. First off, many chiropractors extend their reach too far into areas beyond what their skills and knowledge allow. Some doctors will try to treat conditions for which they have no experience in dealing with and this attitude can cause more harm than good in many instances.
However, the biggest complaint I have with chiropractic for sciatica, or any back pain syndrome, is the long-term nature of treatment. Patients are often promised a natural cure early on in treatment, but receive little more than ongoing symptomatic respite.
Most sciatica patients enjoy their chiropractic sessions and feel temporary relief after their adjustments. However, they are in pain again within a few days and seek another adjustment. This treatment cycle can last years. In my case, it endured for 18 long ones.
I would like to see more cures and less symptomatic treatment in the chiropractic field or at least a more realistic view of what a patient should expect early on in the treatment process. For those chiropractors who do offer this honest assessment of their skills to prospective patients, I commend you. For those who promise a cure and deliver nothing but metaphoric bandages and aspirin when a patient is in pain, you should be ashamed. Please, more disclosure, less empty promises.