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Leg Pain - Sciatica

Pain in the leg, or sciatica, is a common complaint in a chiropractic office. The pain can be in the upper or lower leg, and can also involve the foot. In general, the further down the leg it goes, the more serious it is. It is often described as achy, sharp, burning, or it can be described as electric shock in severe cases. Numbness and tingling in the leg or foot can also be present. Frequency and intensity can vary greatly, with the pain sometimes being unbearable.

Sciatica is really not a disorder or disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying condition. There are numerous conditions known to cause leg pain, the most common involving some pressure or stress on one of the nerves coming from the lower spine into the leg. These include subluxations of the spine, disc degeneration, disc bugles or herniations. Sometimes tightness of muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve can put pressure on it and cause leg pain, as in piriformis syndrome. Other causes of sciatica also exist but will not be discussed here. These can be serious in nature and will need to be kept in mind and ruled out in a clinical setting.

Since there are many disorders that cause sciatica, the chiropractor’s first step is to determine what is causing the patient’s pain. Forming a diagnosis involves a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, and a physical and neurological examination. Diagnostic testing may include x-rays and electromyography. A referral for an MRI or CT scan can also be considered in some cases. If the results of the examination conclude that the problem falls within the scope of the chiropractic, treatment can begin. The main chiropractic treatment modality is the adjustment, in which subluxations of the spine are corrected allowing the nerves to function better and the body to heal. If the problem falls outside of our scope of practice, the patient will be referred to the proper practitioner.

A study by leading researchers on the subject of low back and leg pain reported that 90% of patients improved under chiropractic care. Many of the patients were diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation, which should put to rest the common misconception that chiropractors should not treat such disc patients. The authors concluded: “Based on our results, we postulate that a course of non-operative treatment including manipulation may be effective and safe for the treatment of back and radiating leg pain.” (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1995)

Give us a call if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation.

Patient Stories

Jenny Cooke

Jenny came to the office in September 2009 complaining of excruciating low back and leg pain. It had all started from a severe E. Coli infection that she had contracted from a meal at a restaurant. The effects from that infection made her so sick...

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Shirley Madison

Shirley Madison was referred to our office by her sister, Diane,  who was really concerned about her. Shirley had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by her doctor after complaining of leg  pain that started after a horse riding...

read more...
Janet Whillans

Janet Whillans has an amazing chiropractic story. Her son Stewart who was concerned about her pain and her declining health referred her to our office. Janet`s main complaints were back and neck pain, leg pain and numbness, but her...

read more...

Patient Stories

Jenny Cooke

Jenny came to the office in September 2009 complaining of excruciating low back and leg pain. It had all started from a severe E. Coli infection that she had contracted from a meal at a restaurant. The effects from that infection made her so sick and weak that some days she just thought she was going to die. With chiropractic adjustments she slowly got better and her health slowly returned to the point that she now says; “You saved my life!” Jenny, you are a joy to have in the office and it is our privilege to serve you. We know that your positive outlook and attitude were as well an aid in your recovery.

Shirley Madison

Shirley Madison was referred to our office by her sister, Diane,  who was really concerned about her. Shirley had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by her doctor after complaining of leg  pain that started after a horse riding accident. She went to  numerous specialists, did physiotherapy, and 7 years after the  accident was still in a lot of pain. Nobody had been able to help  her. She was unable to do most of the activities she loved and  was getting very frustrated. She started feeling better  immediately after the first adjustment and now she can do all the  activities that she’s been missing all of these years, even  climbing the monkey bars with her 5 year-old grandson! Please tell your friends and family that chiropractic should be first, not  the last resort!

Janet Whillans

Janet Whillans has an amazing chiropractic story. Her son Stewart who was concerned about her pain and her declining health referred her to our office. Janet`s main complaints were back and neck pain, leg pain and numbness, but her consultation revealed that this was only the tip of the iceberg. Her body was literally starting to shut down and the signs confirming that were: swollen legs due to kidney malfunction, bladder incontinence, heartburn, difficulty breathing, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, low energy and more! Janet had become very discouraged about her health problems. Her quality of life was rapidly declining and it was even affecting her moods with family members. Examination and X-rays showed several areas of spinal stress and dysfunction, and Janet committed to a year of intense corrective care. After six months of care, she is happy that her health has improved so much. Her kidneys are functioning again and the swelling in her legs has improved. All the symptoms listed above have disappeared; she even noticed her eyes are clearer! Thanks Janet for your commitment to your health through chiropractic! 

Miriam Quiroga

Miriam Quiroga consulted our clinic in July 2006 for back and leg pain, headaches, dizziness, low energy, anxiety and panic attacks, heartburn, difficulty breathing and irritable bowel syndrome. On chiropractic examination, it was clear that Miriam`s nervous system was subject to severe interference from multiple spinal subluxations. Of special interest was the fact that Miriam had been trying to get pregnant for years but could not. After a few short months of chiropractic care, she announced to us that she was not only pregnant with one child but two! Miriam was adjusted regularly during her pregnancy and Scarlett and Xander, two beautiful healthy babies, were born (naturally!- rare for twins) on July 22, 2007. They were checked and adjusted as soon as they came out of the hospital. Miriam couldn`t believe how calm they were and how well they slept after being adjusted. It`s amazing what will happen when the nervous system starts working properly. Additionally, all the other symptoms Miriam complained about at her initial visit disappeared or greatly improved. Thank you Miriam for your trust and confidence!

David Taylor

David Taylor has been a patient in our office since 1996. Being a hard working farmer, he originally came in with severe low back and leg pain, with loss of reflexes in the leg, atrophy of musculature and some numbness. I treated him for a disc injury while we both waited for an MRI to be done. The medical system was slow to react so finally David paid for his own MRI in Calgary, which verified not just one blown disc, but five of them! Every lumbar disc was herniated. By the time he saw the neurosurgeon, we had his leg reflexes back and his pain was much less so the surgeon refused him surgery - he was stuck with me and chiropractic care. Stuck is the exact word because David continued with his care incredibly diligently and we have faced lots of challenges over the years. He has successfully come through prostate cancer and therapy. We have had to restore his equilibrium and balance. We have needed to free up a bad left shoulder so he can wash and comb his hair. We often free up a right knee and ankle joint, which was from an old cow injury, and of course we continually work the lower back and pelvis because most farmers never really retire do they?