Why is My Sciatica Not Going Away?
If you’ve come across this post, it’s probably safe to say that you’re looking for some relief from your sciatica. Sciatic pain can be frustrating since sometimes it lasts for what feels like forever, or it goes away and just keeps coming back. Many people have problems with sciatica for decades, whether it’s consistent or recurring episodes.
Why is this? Let’s take a quick look at what sciatica is, the signs of sciatica, and finally answer the question that brought you here, “Why is my sciatica not going away?”
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is inflammation of your sciatic nerve, which comes out of your lower back, down the back of your leg, to your foot.
What are Signs of Sciatica?
A major sign of sciatica is a pain in your lower back, buttock, and down your lower leg. The pain can be moderate to severe. You may also feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in these areas.
Why is My Sciatica Not Going Away?
If you have sciatica, you’ve most likely tried a few things at home to relieve the pain. You might have even seen a doctor, physical therapist, or a chiropractor for sciatica. But no matter what you do, it’s not going away.
Trying to treat sciatica can turn into a vicious cycle. The pain can go away and come back for years if the problem isn’t corrected. Usually, we look to medications, therapy, exercises for sciatica, or conventional chiropractic and once the pain is gone, we go back to doing the things we were doing before.
But we leave the spine out of alignment and the nerves are still irritated. If we don’t make a correction, we head back to that pain point and experience recurring problems.
Here are some reasons sciatica won’t go away.
Reason #1: You’re not doing the right things at home.
You might think you are. You might be doing what the doctor told you or what you found on a Google search. Here are some things you could be doing wrong.
- You’re not icing your lower back or you’re using heat instead of ice. Icing your lower back helps to reduce inflammation to manage symptoms of sciatica so you can get around to doing other things to treat it. Using heat can make inflammation worse by increasing blood flow to the area.
- You don’t stop the activities that exacerbate it. This is a big problem for some people. Masking the pain with pain relievers or just “powering through” the pain will not help your sciatica go away and will only make it worse. You need to reduce your activities. Your pain is telling your body to relax and take a timeout because it needs a chance to heal and reduce the inflammation.
A timeout doesn’t mean do nothing, though. There are some exercises to relieve sciatica, such as the stretches that can be seen here.
Reason #2: It’s not just a sciatic problem.
Your problem may not be specific to one spot in your body. You might have systemic inflammation or a structural abnormality up stream or in the neck, mid-back, or lower back, which is inflammation throughout the entire body that drives the pain you’re having.
In order to fight systemic inflammation, you’ll need to make some changes to your diet, if you haven’t already.
First, eliminate sugars, dairy, and grains because these are highly inflammatory and can make existing inflammation worse. This isn’t something most people want to hear but is a crucial component to reducing inflammation and becoming pain-free.
Also, you’ll need to add some key micronutrients, such as essential fatty acids, vitamin D, and Acute Phase which is designed for new injuries and has all-natural pain relievers, which can really help catapult your treatment. Here’s a video that discusses these nutrients in more detail.
When purchasing these supplements from Metagenics, use the provider code AlignWC.
Reason #3: Your problem is upstream from the lower back.
I have found often when sciatica is not going away it is due to a structural abnormality in the neck, mid-back or lower back.
A lot of doctors and orthopedists refer patients to corrective chiropractors for this reason. Many times, the problem isn’t actually in the lower back but is stemming from somewhere else further up the spine.
The sciatic nerve is an extension of the spinal cord. When energy comes out of your brain it goes down your spine and then out the nerves until it becomes the sciatic nerve.
Many people have injuries that have happened in the past, such as a neck injury, that put a “kink” in the spine at the top. And then another injury happened down in the lower back causing a secondary compression. But the main problem remains at the top of the spine.
Dr. Gregg explains this further by relating it to a kink in the garden hose that you can see in this video.
An orthopedic doctor may have recommended surgery because of the injury in the lower back and maybe even did an epidural injection for sciatica or sciatica nerve surgery. Patients often feel some relief in symptoms temporarily but after a few months, the symptoms come back. Or maybe they had no relief at all. This is called Failed Lower Back Surgery Syndrome and it affects 50% of lower back surgeries.
This happens because the problem isn’t in the lower back. It’s upstream from it, in the neck or midback, and it’s affecting how energy travels through the spine.
This is why corrective chiropractic is the way to go. At Align Wellness Center, Dr. Gregg not only looks at the symptoms and pain but also looks at the whole system to make sure all of your kinks are removed and energy can flow through.
Reason #4: Not all mechanical back pain is meant to be cured at home or with medication.
In most situations, there’s a physical change that needs to be addressed by the right provider, a corrective chiropractor. You need someone to look at your entire system.
For most people with lower back pain or sciatica, this isn’t the first time they’ve had it, and taking care of a problem you’ve had for a long time can take a long time to fix. The first step is to figure out where the problem is coming from and developing a plan to fix it.
Dr. Gregg looks at your whole system by taking a look from the front, making sure your spine is straight up and down, and from the side to make sure the curves in your spine are normal. If they’re not normal, he looks to correct them and get them back to normal as much as possible.
If you’re ready to get rid of your sciatica for good, give us a call, schedule an appointment online, or stop in to see us. Align Wellness Center is located at 900 Skokie Blvd, Suite 113, Northbrook, IL 60062.