Pain: A Complicated Signal-Part 2
Let's talk a bit more about different sources of pain. As mentioned in Part 1, our nervous system translates many sources of pain differently depending on the origin (read part 1 here). This is extremely helpful, because it helps us as Chiropractors identify the cause of the pain, so we can address it at the source and eliminate the pain. This is what makes our treatment so unique. Throughout this series we will discuss different types of pain and how we treat them.
Let's take nerve pain for example. If you have never experienced the sharp, shooting, "electric shock" type of pain sometimes accompanied by numbness, burning, or even weakness, consider yourself lucky! Nerve pain typically causes radiating patterns away from the site of irritation, either down the arm, leg, around the head, into the hands, etc.
Sciatic nerve pain is a very common condition that we see in the office. But it can take on many different presentations depending on where the nerve is being irritated. The sciatic nerve is the single largest and longest nerve in the human body, and is about as big around as your thumb at it's largest point. No wonder it is commonly irritated! But this nerve may become "pinched" at a few different locations- the spine being the most common.
You see the nerve is actually a combination of nerve roots that come together individually out of the lower part of the spine through a relatively narrow opening. If that opening becomes compromised, the nerve will cause not only back pain but also potential radiating pain down the leg; into the hip, knee, and even the foot. The problem may be caused by spinal misalignment (subluxation), a bulging/ inflamed disc, arthritic degeneration, or a host of other conditions. But the nerve continues to travel through the buttock and down the leg weaving in close proximity to many muscles and soft tissue structures. You guessed it, the nerve can become irritated here as well (one common location is near the piriformis muscle, a small external rotator of the hip joint.) We meticulously analyze your pain pattern and go through a rigorous neurological and orthopedic examination to not only determine where your pain is coming from, but what the most effective and efficient way to treat it.
As chiropractors, we utilize chiropractic manipulative therapy (adjustments) to correct misalignment of the spine to reduce pinching on the nerve. We will also teach you proper stretching and home exercises to keep pressure of the nerve, and strengthen your spine and core so that you greatly reduce the risk of re-injury. Where we differ from most chiropractors is that all of our doctors are Active Release Technique (ART) certified, which is a comprehensive soft tissue treatment that we have found to work extremely well in conjunction with chiropractic care. As mentioned, Sciatic nerve entrapments can occur at many locations. ART gives us the ability to treat the nerve and contributing muscles at each place they are becoming irritated, whether it be at the spine, in the hip at the piriformis, etc. This actually allows us to get results more quickly than just using traditional chiropractic care, which in turn allows you to resume normal activity as quickly as possible.
Have you been having any types of pains recently that you just can't get rid of? Call our office or just come on by! We want you to get out of pain and get you back doing what you love. Our promise to you is that we will do everything we can to get you better.
Stay tuned for Part 3!
Staker Chiropractic Center
3550 NW Cary Parkway, Suite 104
Cary, NC 27513