Pain in the body’s largest nerve.


Sciatica can be a severely painful condition. It is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve, a nerve which runs from the lower back through the hip and down the leg. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, as anyone who has had sciatica can attest. The most common cause of sciatica is pinching or irritation of the nerve in the lower spine. Slipping of a disc, slight displacement of a spinal joint, bone spurs or combinations of all of these problems are the typical causes of sciatic nerve irritation.

Sciatica is one of the most common conditions for which back surgery is recommended. Back surgery, however, is only successful about 60% of the time and has a fairly high risk of complications. More recent interest in nonsurgical treatments for sciatic nerve pain has caused several researchers to look at chiropractic manipulation as an alternative. Researchers at St. Thomas Hospital in London recently reported the results of their study of nonsurgical treatments for back and sciatic nerve pain in the British Journal Of Rheumatology. Comparing traction, spinal injections, and manipulation, they found manipulation to be the single most effective treatment in the 513 patients studied.

In a similar study, researchers at the California College Medicine at the University of California Irvine, also found manipulation to significantly improve clinical signs of sciatic nerve compression. Clearly, chiropractic manipulation is one of the most effective conservative treatments in those with sciatic nerve pain.

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