Sciatica and Disc problems

The largest nerve of the body is the sciatic nerve. If it becomes injured or inflamed, it causes symptoms called sciatica. Sciatica can cause intense pain along any part of the sciatica nerve pathway – from the low back down to the toes.

If the nerve is compressed, often times is caused by conditions such as a bulging or herniated disc (“slip disc”), muscle injury or spasm, infection or tumor (rare). Such symptoms may include a loss of reflexes, muscle weakness, walking difficulty and numbness besides severe pain. Such disc problems can make everyday activities such as walking, sitting and standing or walking difficult.

The great majority of disc injuries involve some degree of bulging of the disc. The “slipped” or bulge disc can be a slight, even temporary, push against the nerve or the spinal cord, or it can be a more definite mild, moderate, or marked bulge. Sometimes discs can herniate which a fragment from the central part of the disc that breaks off.

How does Dr. Mark Mashike, D.C. evaluate low back pain?

First a careful examination is performed involving chiropractic, orthopedic (“bones”) and neurological (“nerves”) testing. Are the leg reflexes intact? Is there a sign of disc or joint misalignment? Is there loss of muscle strength or signs of muscle wasting? Is there loss of sensation or strength along an area supplied by a particular nerve? These are the vital questions that the chiropractic, orthopedic and neurological exam can help answer.

Other diagnostic procedures may be used that are unique to chiropractic and establish the foundation for a program of care.

Such tests can check joint motion, muscle strength, and perform a postural analysis of the patient. Techniques include motion and static palpation to determine exact areas of restrictions in spinal joint motion. Palpation of muscles and muscle testing, as well as perform tests for hip balance and determine whether there is a “short leg” or posture problem.

X-rays of the low back may be taken (if needed), or other imaging study of the back ordered.

Chiropractic Care of Low Back Pain Conditions

After analyzing this information, Dr. Mark Mashike, D.C. determines if the patient can be help by chiropractic care and the type of treatment needed. Treatment involves gentle low-force techniques and therapy to help reduce the pain and inflammation to the area, as well as help restore proper joint alignment and posture to help the healing cycle.

As the area improves, patient education involving corrected exercises and stretching often time is given to help strengthen the weaken area and prevent future injury.

Do you have any questions about low back pain? Just call me at 858-794-4007, and I will be glad to answer your questions promptly or make you an appointment.

Dr. Mark Mashike, D.C.