Chiropractic for Sciatica: A guide (2023)

Home » Chiropractic for Sciatica: A guide (2023)

Have you tried multiple sciatica treatments, like ice, heat, massage, and medications? Does the burning lower back and leg pain persist? If yes, then a visit to a professional chiropractor may be the way to go.

By realigning the spine, chiropractors can offer an effective alternative for managing – and correcting – nerve pain problems like sciatica.

With that said, many people have questions about whether going to a chiropractor is the best option for them – so let’s answer them today.

Is Chiropractic good for Sciatica?

Chiropractic care is a safe and effective form of treatment for sciatica. It can provide relief from the pain associated with it, as well as improve mobility and reduce inflammation. The benefits of chiropractic care for sciatica include:

  • improved range of motion
  • reduced muscle spasms
  • increased flexibility
  • decreased nerve compression
  • improved posture
  • Understanding of foot biomechanics and knee issues that might be contributing.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Sciatica

Chiropractors can use various techniques to treat sciatica such as spinal manipulation (adjustment), soft tissue therapy, stretching exercises, lifestyle modifications (such as optimizing posture and your office chair position), and nutritional advice.

These treatments work together to relieve pressure on the affected nerves by realigning the spine and reducing inflammation in the surrounding tissues. This reduces pain while improving overall biomechanical function.

The goal of any tailored chiropractic program is to relieve your symptoms naturally without medications or surgery.

Shoulder or neck pain? Your Sciatica could be the culprit here too. Read our post about Sciatic-like nerve compression in the upper body, how it differs, and how to approach it.

Key Takeaway: Chiropractic care is a safe and effective treatment for sciatica, providing relief from pain, improved mobility, reduced inflammation, and improved posture. Features include:

  • spinal manipulation and adjustment,
  • soft tissue therapy (massage)
  • stretching exercises
  • lifestyle modifications
  • nutritional advice

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down through each leg. It can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the affected area.

Symptoms of Sciatica

The most common symptom of sciatica is a sharp or burning pain that radiates from your lower back into one or both legs. Other symptoms may include numbness, weakness, and difficulty moving or controlling your leg muscles.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica is usually caused by an underlying condition, like a herniated disc in the spine, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs), spondylolisthesis (slippage between vertebrae), bone spurs, or piriformis syndrome.

Diagnosis of Sciatica

Your doctor will perform a physical exam to check for signs and symptoms associated with sciatica. They may also order imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI to help diagnose any underlying conditions causing your symptoms.

In some cases, they may recommend nerve conduction studies to measure how well electrical signals are traveling along your nerves.

Sciatica can be a debilitating issue, affecting your daily routines. Chiropractic care can be an effective treatment option. Lets explore a bit further so you have all the info you’ll need to get started.

What to Expect During a Chiropractic Visit for Sciatica

Preparing for Your Appointment

Before your chiropractic visit, it is important to prepare. Make sure you have all the necessary information about your condition and any medications or treatments you are currently taking.

You should also wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the area of pain.

Additionally, if you have recent X-rays or MRI results related to your sciatica, bring them with you as well!

The Process of the Appointment

During a chiropractic appointment for sciatica, the doctor will begin by asking questions about your medical history and symptoms in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

The doctor may then perform a physical examination which includes palpation (feeling) along the spine and other areas of discomfort as well as range-of-motion tests to assess mobility limitations due to pain or stiffness.

Depending on their findings during this process, they may suggest additional diagnostic testing such as X-rays or CT scans/MRI before proceeding with treatment.

After your appointment

Be sure to follow all aftercare instructions given by your chiropractor including hydration, stretching exercises, sleep and ergonomic advice and lifestyle modifications recommended for managing your sciatica symptoms at home between visits.

Additionally, avoid activities that could aggravate existing conditions, such as lifting heavy objects or participating in impact sports.

Chiropractic care can be an effective treatment for sciatica pain in many cases. With the right preparation, it can be a successful visit that helps you manage and prevent recurrence of your sciatic pain. Read on to learn more about how lifestyle changes, stretches and exercises, and nutritional advice can help support healing.

Tips to Manage and Prevent Recurrence of Sciatic Pain with Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is a powerful resource for managing and decreasing the likelihood of future sciatic pain, allowing you to keep moving. Here are some tips to get started:

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Pain and Improve Mobility

Making small changes in your lifestyle can have a big impact on reducing sciatica pain. Avoid activities that cause the discomfort, like prolonged sitting or standing, lifting heavy objects, or repetitive motions.

Also, consider adding regular exercise into your routine – even light stretching and walking can help reduce tension in the muscles around the spine and hips.

Stretches and Exercises to Strengthen Muscles and Improve Flexibility

Strengthening weak muscle groups is key for relieving sciatic nerve pain. Your chiropractor may in some instances recommend actions tailored to your condition, like spinal mobility stretches, pelvic tilts, gluteal sets, and hip flexor stretches.

Doing these regularly will help strengthen the muscles around the spine while improving flexibility where it’s needed, to relieve pressure on the largest nerve in your body – the sciatic.

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to promote tissue repair throughout the body: Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or walnuts have been shown to reduce inflammation associated with chronic conditions like arthritis, which are contributing factors for some sciatica patients.

Some people find compression therapies to be helpful for their sciatica pain between chiropractic visits.

Related Post:

TENS pad placement for Sciatica

back of upper thigh placement for tens pad

Alternatives to Chiropractic for Sciatic Pain

Sciatica is a common condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the lower back and legs. Bone spurs, disc herniations, and pressure applied by other tissues can all contribute.

Due to these complex problems, treatment should be approached from many angles – like stretching muscles, releasing fascia, and addressing inflammation.

While chiropractic care is an effective treatment for sciatica pain relief, there are other alternatives available to help manage symptoms or use alongside it.

Physical Therapy: Physical therapy involves exercises designed to strengthen the muscles around the spine and improve flexibility to reduce pressure on nerves.

This can help relieve sciatica pain by reducing inflammation and improving mobility.

Common physical therapy Sciatica treatments include stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, balance training, posture correction techniques, heat/cold therapies, electrical stimulation (TENS), ultrasound therapy, and dry needling.

Medication: Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (paracetamol) may provide temporary relief from sciatica pain but should not be used long-term without consulting your doctor first.

Prescription medications such as muscle relaxants or antidepressants may also be prescribed if needed to help manage symptoms of sciatica pain more effectively over time.

Injections: Corticosteroid injections are commonly used to reduce inflammation in areas where nerve roots become compressed due to disc herniation or spinal stenosis which can cause radiating leg pains associated with sciatica conditions.

These injections usually provide short-term relief for a few weeks, but do not address underlying issues causing the condition so they should only be considered after other treatments have been tried first with no success, or to calm inflammation short-term.

Dry needling and acupuncture: This relatively new approach works wonders for some people. Typically it is used alongside proper corrective approaches like chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy. We wrote a full post discussing acupuncture vs. dry needling so you can understand what’s involved.

Surgery: Surgery is typically reserved for cases where conservative treatments have failed or when there is severe nerve damage. This might call for a medical professional like a neurosurgeon who specializes in procedures related to entrapped or compressed nerves, or spinal decompression surgery.

Chiropractic and Sciatica FAQs

Should you go to a chiropractor for sciatica?

Yes, a chiropractor can be an effective treatment for sciatica. Chiropractic care focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with the goal of restoring proper joint mobility and relieving pain.

A chiropractor will use spinal manipulation to reduce nerve irritation that is causing your sciatica symptoms.

Rather than relying on medications or surgeries, consider visiting a chiropractor who can help you find relief from sciatica pain. They may also suggest exercises and lifestyle changes that allow you to effectively manage your condition in the long term.

How long does it take for a chiropractor to help sciatica?

Chiropractic care is an effective treatment for sciatica, and the results can be seen in as little as one to two visits. Depending on the severity of your condition, a chiropractor may recommend a series of treatments over several weeks or months to help reduce pain and improve mobility.

These recommendations are also based on your age, prior injuries, and the health of your lumbar spine. For example, how degenerated your intervertebral discs are and how much joint arthritis there is.

Regular adjustments help to maintain long-term relief from sciatica symptoms. If you are experiencing sciatica, a simple visit to a chiropractor will reveal if they can help your case.

Should I Get a CT Scan for Sciatica?

In most cases, it is not necessary to get a CT scan for sciatica since it does not provide useful additional information about the underlying cause of your pain, or when treatment can begin.

However, a CT scan may be recommended if there are concerning signs of nerve compression, severe disc damage, severe spinal stenosis, or if you have had surgery in the past that could have caused damage to your spine.

However, this should only be done after other diagnostic tests have been completed, which your chiropractor will do.


A Chiro can help reduce inflammation, improve range of motion, and correct the underlying issues that cause sciatica. With regular visits to your chiropractor, you can effectively manage your symptoms and prevent the recurrence of sciatic pain.

So if you’re wondering “is chiropractic good for sciatica?” The answer is yes!

Are you suffering from sciatica, back and neck pain, knee injuries, or chronic conditions? Don’t suffer in silence any longer. Learn more about how chiropractic care can help to reduce your symptoms and provide lasting relief.

Our blog offers the latest research on natural remedies for these ailments as well as stretches and exercises at home to ease discomfort.

Home » Chiropractic for Sciatica: A guide (2023)

Author Bio

Dr Jason Whealing headshot

Dr. Jason Whealing is a Chiropractor with extensive experience across the UK and Australia. He is passionate about family care and injury management. The cases Jason works with daily include back pain, neck pain, jaw pain, sciatica, knee pain, shoulder pain, headaches and migraine.

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