The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, beginning in the lower back and extending through the buttocks and down the entire leg. When the nerve is inflamed or compressed, you’ve got sciatica, characterized by mild to severe pain, burning, tingling, numbness and/or weakness.

Your chiropractor knows a great deal about sciatica, particularly because the nerve originates in the lower back, and herniated spinal discs account for the majority of sciatica cases. In fact, sciatica is a common reason for visiting a chiropractor. If you’re suffering from sciatica, your DC may perform chiropractic adjustments and related techniques to help resolve your pain.

In terms of future prevention once the pain is gone, exercise – specifically two low-level activities, walking and biking – may be suggested. Why? According to recent research, regular walking and/or biking reduces the risk of being hospitalized for sciatica by 33 percent, the same percentage risk increase attributable to obesity. While sciatica uncommonly leads to a hospital stay, it can persist if not treated properly and cause significant pain / disability.

The study did not find an association with other types of leisure-time physical activities, leading the researchers to speculate that walking / biking are specifically beneficial because they are low-level physical activities that don’t strain the low back.

Talk to your chiropractor about sciatica prevention and conservative chiropractic treatment – before you are someone you know is faced with chronic pain or even hospitalization.