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  • Dr. Eric Carlsen

Why Does My Back Hurt?

man bent over holding back in pain

Doc - why does my back hurt so much? This is a question that every chiropractor gets asked at least once a day. This month, I am going to try and give some insight into the common conditions that can bring on back pain, how I treat it and how you may avoid certain movements that can bring on pain.


Sciatica is a term used to describe nerve pain in the leg that is caused by irritation and/or compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica originates in the lower back, radiates deep into the buttock, and travels down the leg.

This is a common condition that we see at Family CCR.

What Does Sciatica Feel Like?

  • Pain. Sciatica pain is typically felt like a constant burning sensation or a shooting pain starting in the lower back or buttock and radiating down the front or back of the thigh and leg and/or feet.

  • Numbness. Sciatica pain may be accompanied by numbness in the back of the leg. Sometimes, tingling and/or weakness may also be present.

  • One-sided symptoms. Sciatica typically affects one leg. The condition often results in a feeling of heaviness in the affected leg. Rarely, both legs may be affected together.

  • Posture-induced symptoms. Sciatica symptoms may feel worse while sitting, trying to stand up, bending the spine forward, twisting the spine, lying down, and/or while coughing. The symptoms may be relieved by walking or applying a heat pack over the rear pelvic region.

It is important to note that any type of lower back pain or radiating leg pain is not sciatica. Sciatica is specific to pain that originates from the sciatic nerve.

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica pain is caused by an irritation, inflammation, pinching, or compression of a nerve in the lower back. The most common cause is a herniated or slipped disk that causes pressure on the nerve root.

Treatment for Sciatica

Chiropractic has been shown to be very effective in treating sciatica. It is non-invasive and does not use medications, making it an optimal choice for many patients. There are various treatments that a chiropractor may use or recommend. They may be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies.

Adjustments. Spinal manipulation, or adjustments, is the core of chiropractic treatment. It helps to realign the spine, freeing restricted movement, and helps bring the body back into its proper alignment so that it functions better and more effectively. It also helps to reduce the pain that is associated with nerve inflammation, particularly that associated with sciatica.

Ice or Cold Therapy. This therapy helps to reduce and control the pain of sciatica, as well as reduce inflammation.

Laser Therapy. Laser therapy for sciatica is another option to treat painful sciatica symptoms. It is an FDA-approved, painless and a non-invasive treatment option for patients suffering with sciatica symptoms that won't go away. Laser therapy has several components that allow it to create changes in the body.

If you suffer from sciatic pain, I encourage you to consider chiropractic as an option for your treatment.

Excepts from Spine Health


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