What is it?

Are you experiencing leg pain? It may not just be pain in your leg — It may be sciatica. “Sciatica” is the clinical term for leg pain that originates in the spine, and extends down the leg and sometimes into the foot and toes.Sciatica is the result of slipping of the nucleus pulposus in a contained disc or non-contained disc that results in back pain, and depending on the severity of the slippage, pain down the leg. Sciatica can be effectively treated with chiropractic care.

Severity Of SlippageLocation Of Pain
MinimalMay extend into the buttock
More SevereMay extend into the calf
Really SevereMay extend into the foot and toes


Further considerations in determining if the pain in your leg is sciatica:

  • A clinical examination that may include imaging is critical to diagnosing sciatica and its source, which can be determined with just a few questions about its symptoms. These simple but important steps will assist in your future recovery.
  • The location of the pain in the leg can indicate which sciatic nerve root is compressed, making its diagnosis relatively clear. For example, if the little toe hurts, the S1 nerve is inflamed which lies between the L5 and S1 segments of the spine.
  • The distribution of pain is most commonly into just one leg, though both legs can be affected in some cases. More severe cases of sciatica may even result in lack of mobility in the leg.Bending, lifting and twisting worsens the pain and elongates the healing process. Sciatic pain may range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain. Numbness, pins and needles, and tingling are all very common.
  • Leaning to one side has been found to alleviate pain. Leaning into the side that’s in pain, away from the side in pain, or just standing balanced can help determine where your disc is bulging in your spine.
  • Even the term you choose to describe your pain gives a clinical clue to your doctor of your diagnosis, so explain fully what you feel.

In-office,the practice of Dr. Paul Taillefer uses Cox® Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression to achieve the following:

  1. Lower the pressure in the disc, so the nucleus pulposus returns to the center of the disc.
  2. Aid in the healing of the torn anular fibers.
  3. Drive out chemicals that irritate and inflame the spinal nerves.

If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, keep the following facts in mind:

It takes three months for a torn disc to heal well enough to allow you to return to daily activities like prolonged sitting, bending, lifting, twisting, etc.

The first three to four weeks of concentrated treatment, therapies, and at-home care are designed to allow the best opportunity for the disc to heal quickly. This three month window does not mean that you must be treated continually throughout this time period, but rather it means that you must be cautious and aware of your spine’s healing.

While undergoing treatment, even if the pain is gone, healing is still taking place and could be hindered if you do something to aggravate the process. In the 1000 case studies of patients undergoing care for their back pain,91% reported maximum improvement in 90 days of care and 70% of patients in less than 30 visits.

The pain of sciatica is quite disturbing to the daily activities of life. The day that it seems to be gone is a day to celebrate, but know that sciatica is serious. Pain-free days are often experienced during treatment, but know that it’s common to have recurrences of sciatic pain during healing.

The sciatic pain going away more than it comes is a true sign of healing.

The way you take care of yourself at home is just as important as your chiropractic treatments in the healing process. We recommend the following ongoing at-home care:

  1. Avoid sitting for long periods of time.
  2. Wear a support brace if recommended.
  3. Take nutritional supplements that help rebuild disc cartilage.
  4. Sleep on a supportive mattress.
  5. Sit in an ergonomically designed chair.
  6. Avoid constipation which just forces you to use pressure that your spine doesn’t need.
  7. Modify your daily activities as needed.
  8. Exercise is important to your recovery and prevention of future pain.
  9. It is important to start exercises as soon as possible, not vigorously, but gently.
    • Do only exercises recommended and to your tolerance.

This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or
activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a
diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy.
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