Sciatica is a common condition that is characterized by pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. It branches from nerves in the lower back and from there, travels down through the hips, buttocks, and back of each leg.
There can be a number of reasons why the sciatic nerve can become irritated and cause you pain or discomfort. The more common reasons include lumbar disc degeneration, narrowing of the spinal canal, or piriformis syndrome.
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The Sciatic Nerve and the Neck
The uncommon approach that has seen much success in addressing sciatica is upper cervical chiropractic care. With upper cervical care, we address misalignments that occur at the very top of the spine at its most freely movable segments, the atlas (C1) and axis (C2). These vertebrae support the weight of the head as well as protect the brainstem, a critical part of our central nervous system.
When the head is carried off center because of an upper cervical misalignment, the rest of the body must compensate for this. To correct for a head that is not being supported properly, the shoulders and hips will become uneven, and this will create an imbalance in how your weight is carried. This can cause a tremendous amount of stress and strain on the lower back, and can also create unequal muscle tension from left to right. Unequal muscle tension can cause low back spasms and can ultimately put pressure on the sciatic nerve that travels from the lower back, down through the buttocks and back of each leg.
While it may seem logical on the surface that the problem is in the lower back since that’s where the pain is, the primary source of the problem is actually a neck issue. By correcting the original cause, the compensations throughout the rest of the spine are reduced, relieving pressure on the sciatic nerve and bringing much-needed relief.
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If you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.