How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?
Sciatica is a symptom and not a condition. Before your discomfort can be treated, one of our Fort Worth doctors will need to diagnose the underlying cause of your sciatica. If you can, write down any other symptoms and include details about when your pain tends to flare up. Diagnosing the underlying condition involves a careful review of the patient’s medical history, a physical, and examination.
During your exam, one of our doctors may check your muscle strength and reflexes. You may be asked to walk on specific parts of your foot, such as your toes or heels. If you experience pain during these exercises, it may be a sign of sciatica. There are a variety of tests and imaging techniques that can further aid in diagnosing the cause of your pain. We may also recommend x-rays, MRI, CT scans, EMG and nerve conduction velocity tests to confirm the diagnosis, as well.
Once our doctors understand the underlying cause of your sciatica, a thorough treatment plan can be developed. We will look at your symptoms holistically and we will never prescribe a “quick fix.”
Chiropractic treatment is intended to allow the body self-heal.
How Is Sciatica Treated?
Chiropractic treatment is intended to allow the body self-heal. Your customized treatment plan may include medication, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, ultrasound, or other forms of therapy. We always strive to begin with conservative therapies. One advanced treatment we offer uses the DRX9000™, a revolutionary spinal decompression machine that provides relief for back and neck pain.
Other possible treatment options include:
Ultrasound can reduce back pain by using vibrations to deliver energy and heat to injured areas of the back. It can also play an important role in supporting healing by promoting blood circulation.
Applying a cold pack near the source of your sciatica can reduce inflammation and pain. While ice packs should not be used for more than 20 minutes at a time, daily use of cold therapy can alleviate discomfort caused by sciatica.
For some, heat therapy can deliver many of the same benefits as cold therapy. We encourage our patients to try both options in order to see which treatment delivers the best results.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS uses a portable muscle stimulating machine to administer variable intensities of electrical current to targeted areas of the back. By interfering with the function of the nerve, this treatment can reduce muscle spasms and acute pain in patients.
Under the hands of one of our expert chiropractors, spinal manipulation can realign the vertebrae. Once vertebrae are restored to their proper position, patients can enjoy benefits like decreased pain, inflammation, and nerve irritability. Spinal manipulation does not cause pain.
Non-invasive physical therapy can provide significant relief while increasing a patient’s mobility. Our therapist can guide patients through specialized exercises and stretching techniques that can improve comfort while reducing inflammation.
Trigger Point Injection
If physical therapy or other non-invasive treatments do not effectively reduce sciatica symptoms, one of our doctors may recommend a trigger point injection. The treatment involves injecting saline solution or a local anesthetic into known “trigger points” or areas of knotted muscle in order to provide relief from nerve pain.