The sciatic nerves run down the back of each leg, and when compressed or irritated, can cause severe leg pain. One of the most common sources of sciatic pain is actually found higher up, in the spine. When vertebrae and/or discs interfere with the sciatic nerve, the pain is felt in either or both legs. The pain usually worsens with prolonged periods of standing or sitting, or with extended bed rest. Pain relievers cannot correct the nerve compression caused by a bulging disc, while physical therapy only exercises the unstable joints. Surgery cuts away disc tissue or removes bone to make way for the nerve.
Sciatica is often the result of cumulative damage - years of poor posture or muscle tone, excess weight or spinal decay. Then, something simple like bending over to pick up a newspaper can trigger an episode. The chiropractic approach is to restore the normal motion and position of the affected portions of the spine, reducing irritation to the affected nerves, and allowing the body to heal itself in that area.