This past year I’ve been teaching both human biology and general biology to students at Clark College. Thus you haven’t seen a new blog from me in quite some time. I thought now would be a great time to get started again by blogging about an all too common aliment known as sciatica (sciatica= irritation to the sciatic nerve causing leg pain).
Before I get started on that, note that the word doctor comes from the Latin word docēre, meaning “to teach”. I’ve been busy lately teaching college student’s complex neurological pathways. The sciatic nerve pathway, like many others, is fairly complex. If I were teaching my college students I would explain how the sciatic nerve originates from anterior and posterior divisions of the lumbosacral plexus (L4-5 and S1-3), the nerve roots then join together forming the sciatic nerve, pass through the sciatic notch, down the thigh to the popliteal fossa, and then split into the tibial and common fibular nerves. It’s been a rewarding experience helping these students, many training to become nurses, understand how irritation of this nerve creates the leg pain known as sciatica.
As a doctor of chiropractic in practice, my job is not to teach the complex neurological pathway the sciatic nerve takes. My job is in part to teach you what is going wrong and then help fix the problem. Way too often doctors get busy in practice and forget this is part of our duty. A doctor’s job should not to simply be to say “here’s a pill, call me in the morning”. The first order of business would be to determine if your leg pain was due to irritation of this nerve, or due to something else. That would involve an examination and possibly x-rays. Once it was determined that the sciatic nerve was irritated, I would provide a thorough explanation of how the nerve is injured and what kind of treatment options are available. More often than not, in our experience we find misalignments of the lumbar spine and pelvis that contribute to this nerve irritation. As chiropractors we are highly trained to correct these misalignments known as subluxations. Treatment may also be performed to relieve any pressure put onto the nerve by the piriformis muscle. Of course, you would have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify what it being done to correct the problem and maintain it (emphasis on correcting the problem not masking the problem).
This is just one example of why I love what I do. I regularly get the opportunity to teach my patients at Body in Balance the healing and then wellness process, but it has also been a great experience being able to instill knowledge on the minds of college students.
Yours in health,