What is the difference between sciatica and arthritis
At one time or another, you may have experienced pain in your back or your limbs, maybe with swelling around the joints. You may find it hard to move without pain, and you are not sure how to treat the condition.
Many people will assume they are suffering from sciatica or arthritis when they experience these symptoms, but there are some important differentiating factors between the two conditions and the treatment for them.
What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Most commonly, sciatica is a pain that can be felt in the lower back and any part of the body below this. It tends to be a radiating pain and is often only felt on one side of the body – for example, it may start in the lower back and radiate out to the left leg.
Sciatica is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve which runs from the back, through the hips, and into the legs on each side. Compression affects the ability of the nerve to transmit signals correctly, resulting in the misfiring of the pain signal. When the nerve is working correctly, the pain signal is only sent when there is a problem in the body – when suffering from sciatica, any location along the nerve can cause the sensation of pain even if there is nothing physically wrong with that location on the body.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
There are many different types of arthritis with the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Whichever type of arthritis is causing the problem, the joints of the body are the target.
Osteoarthritis is more common in people in their mid-40s or older, and a higher proportion of women suffer from it than men. However, it can occur at any age and may come about because of an injury or other conditions.
This type of arthritis damages the cartilage in the joints, leading to swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis once again affects more women than men, and usually begins to affect people between the ages of 40 and 50. As with other types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the joints, but this time it is the immune system of your body that causes the problem. By wrongly targeting the joints, the immune system causes pain and swelling. The damage can become severe over time resulting in damage to the bone and cartilage.
While you may think of the joints in your body in terms of knees and hips, arthritis can also affect the joints in your hands, arms, and spine.
How is the Treatment Different for Sciatica and Arthritis?
The initial treatment chosen by most patients for the relief of both sciatica and arthritis is to use a painkiller. This can help to reduce swelling and make it more comfortable for the patient to move, but it only treats the symptoms of the issue rather than looking at the cause.
Sciatica is caused by a nerve under compression or otherwise being irritated. This is often from a misalignment of the spine, so while painkillers will stop the pain from being so bad, the problem remains – and once you stop taking the painkillers, the issue will be the same as before.
A chiropractor can help by manipulating the bones of your spine and other joints to relieve the pressure and irritation on the nerve, effectively restoring the function of the nerve to normal.
As for arthritis, many of the problems that cause the condition can once again be related to areas of the body being misaligned. Even for rheumatoid arthritis, when the spine is misaligned that information about the condition of areas of the body can become garbled, triggering an immune response. Gentle realignment can reduce or completely relieve the pain you may experience from any arthritic condition, and unlike painkillers, the results are long-lasting and have no detrimental side effects.
Other Treatments for Sciatica and Arthritis
Many treatments can help to ease the pain associated with both conditions. For example, dry needling promotes healing deep within the tissues of the body and can be effective for reducing the pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
Electrotherapy can reduce inflammation and reduce pain in muscles around joints, and is a simple, straightforward, and safe option for pain management for sciatica and arthritis. It is low voltage and perfectly safe, producing a gentle tingling sensation that many people find pleasant.
Spinal decompression helps to realign the discs in your back safely and gently. Discs being out of alignment can be one of the leading causes of issues with the sciatic nerve as the pressure on the spine exerted by gravity can cause the misaligned disc to push against the nerve.
The bottom line is that there are many treatments available from your chiropractor, all of which can provide beneficial results for pain management and the reduction of symptoms, rather than simply masking the pain of sciatica and arthritis.
Wouldn’t you rather choose a medication-free route to pain management and feeling that your body is your own once again?
Treatment for Sciatica and Arthritis
The comfort and wellbeing of our patients are important to us and so we will do all that we can to ease any pain you are feeling. We also know that patients may be apprehensive about visiting a chiropractor for sciatica or arthritis, which is why we will explain any procedure to you before we begin.
Most treatments are completed in a short amount of time, and the results can be immediate. Everyone is different and will have different responses, as well as different requirements for treatment. We always make sure that our program of care is tailored for each individual and their needs to ensure the maximum benefit from every visit. We want you to be pain-free and will strive to make this a reality.
To book an appointment for sciatica treatment or arthritis treatment, please visit us or call Ozark Chiropractic Clinic on (225) 927-8160 today.