Can Chiropractic help my Sciatica? A Case Study
September 26th, 2018 31 post views
This blog tells Chris’ story, which started with him phoning the clinic to ask, “Can chiropractic help my sciatica?”. He like many others had been suffering from sciatica and wanted a hands-on practical solution.
Eastbourne Plasterer Chris’ Sciatica Misery
Chris is a local Eastbourne lad, he’s a self-employed plasterer, and just before Christmas he hurt his back after a fishing trip. He’d suffered with back pain in the past but it had normally cleared up after a few days or a week at most. It was Christmas so he’d had a few days off work, but rather than clearing up his back pain got worse and he started to suffer with sciatica in his left leg.
Chris called the clinic to ask if chiropractic could help with his sciatica because he needed to get back to work. He’d tried resting up over Christmas but needed to get back to work now.
Chris’ Consultation Uncovered More Than He Realised
His consultation took an hour. All chiropractors carry out this type of consultation, reviewing your health and medical history. I find it useful to see if there’s a pattern to the underlying injury or problem. At Lushington Chiropractic our focus is on getting to the root of the problem, helping the injury heal, repair and recover – not just feel better.
When Chris first came in he was in constant pain, up to 9/10 in severity and unlike his previous back pain it wasn’t getting better. Chris also explained that he’d been having pins and needles in his left ankle.
Don’t Miss these Warning Sciatica Signs
An important clinical sign we look for with sciatica is whether the symptoms go into one or both legs, and whether they go below the knee. My colleagues are writing some other blogs about “sciatica” so if you want to find out more then use our search box or comment below on this blog and we’ll answer your questions. Chris’ sciatica did go to his lower leg and the pins and needles further suggested an “irritated nerve” from his low back (lumbar spine).
Chris’ consultation also found that he was suffering with weekly headaches and neck stiffness. These are not uncommon in plasterers due to the repetitive nature of their work, especially if they’re doing ceilings!
After reviewing Chris’ history we moved on to an examination. Everyone’s examination is tailored to them and their personal case. Although there isn’t a specific sciatica examination, there are certain tests we do that are important to tell us exactly what type of sciatica it is, how bad it is and what type of treatment (chiropractic or otherwise) would be best to help.
In a few cases, we also take x-rays and we have our own digital x-ray facility at our Eastbourne clinic. Chris didn’t need x-rays.
Chris’ lumbar (low back) range of movement was severely reduced because of the pain he’s in, and he could only move 5o any direction. I used special orthopaedic tests to test his muscles, joints and nerves. I also checked how his sensory nerves were functioning and compared sensation in his legs. I prefer to compare vibrational touch and pin-prick sensation. These two types of sensation are transmitted via different types of nerves.
I also checked muscle (myotome) strength, which can be a sign of nerve damage. Although he hadn’t noticed before, when we tested Chris we found that his calf muscle was weak (Tibialis Anterior, which is next to the shin and helps pull your toes up as you walk).
A Diagnosis and Plan to Help
I explained what I’d found was the cause of Chris’ backache and sciatica, and what his chiropractic treatment would involve. As well as that, the consultation had also shown that his headaches were coming from his neck, which is something we can help with as well.
Chris was pleased “that something could be done, rather than just resting”.
Chiropractic Treatment of Sciatica
A lot of people like Chris see chiropractors. Here in Eastbourne we help people of all ages and lifestyles who are suffering with sciatica.
Chiropractors often use a combination of manual therapy like manipulation and massage treatment as well as stretches and rehabilitation exercises. Everyone’s treatment differs. For example, in Chris’ case we were also taking care of his neck problem and associated headaches.
Given the severity of Chris’s backache and sciatica his chiropractic treatment was intense and for the first few weeks we saw him twice a week.
Getting to the Root of the Problem
Chris’ chiropractic treatment focused on the root of his sciatica, back and neck aches. There are some techniques I often use when treating sciatica like McKenzie extension exercises, muscular release and certain types of manipulation. However, everyone’s chiropractic treatment is always personalised to them.
Chris was keen to help himself. He needed to get back to work! I gave him lots of self-help back care tips to look after himself. He also came to one of the back-care classes we were running at the time (if you’re interested then call the clinic on 01323 722499, when we run these classes they’re free to attend but we do need to know numbers).
Chris’ back pain and sciatica started to improve after the first couple of chiropractic treatments. His headaches quickly resolved and his neck began to feel much looser after the first treatment.
Back to Work
After a couple of weeks Chris’ 9/10 pain was easier and he was back to work. We continued to see him after that as his muscles and joints continued to heal. I’m pleased that Chris stuck to his exercises and the self-help tips and is doing great.
Chris has helped me to write this blog and wanted to share his testimonial.
‘After suffering from sciatica sporadically over 40 years I thought it was time to try a different solution. What a difference this has made to my life. The staff are friendly and very professional. If like me you suffer from back pain I cannot recommend Lushington Chiropractic highly enough’.
What to do if You Need a Chiropractor for your Sciatica
Lushington Chiropractic Clinic is well known in Eastbourne. Like Chris most people who see us are recommended by word-of-mouth. However, if you’re not local to Eastbourne and need a chiropractor near you then ask your friends and family who they’d recommend.
Lushington Chiropractic, Eastbourne town centre, BN21 4LL www.LushingtonChiropractic.com for more info about the clinic.
If you have any questions or to book, you can contact me at the clinic: 01323 722499
James Revell DC,LRCC,MSc(Chiro),BSc(Chiro),BSc(Biol)
Doctor of Chiropractic & Clinic Director