When A Lumbar Herniated Disc Causes Sciatica

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Many complications can occur with a lumbar herniated disc. Besides general pain and aches in the affected area, radiating pain to the extremities can result from nerve compression.

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the human body, and lumbar herniation can press on that nerve, causing issues in the legs. This can affect your movement, flexibility, walking, standing, and general quality of life. Luckily, there are ways to treat sciatica caused by a lumbar herniated disc that doesn’t have to include invasive surgery.


Disc herniation can occur anywhere in the spine, and it is usually due to two issues: trauma or injury, or degenerative changes in the vertebrae. Degenerative changes include issues such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, degenerative scoliosis, and spondylolisthesis.

These progressive degenerative issues cause the narrowing of the disc space between the vertebrae of the spine, and they begin to rub against each other. This can lead to osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and further herniation of the disc. Herniated discs press against affected nerves, which causes the pain to radiate out to muscles in the affected area and, in severe cases, down into the extremities.

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve that runs down into the legs is being compressed by the vertebrae or herniated disc.


The symptoms of sciatica can vary, but they usually impede on daily activities. Sometimes the pain is localized to the muscles surrounding the nerve which is being pinched or compressed. In many cases, the pain radiates out into a tingling sensation, aches, burning, or even electrical shock sensations.

In other cases, the nerve becomes so compressed that it causes weakness or complete numbness in the legs. The pain, numbness, or burning sensations can be felt all the way down into the ankle and foot.


Most traditional medical doctors and surgeons will recommend surgery as the only option for repairing your herniated disc. Some doctors will also recommend painful injections as the primary way to manage pain. However, these solutions don’t get to the root of the problem, and surgery can sometimes make the pain worse and limit your mobility. Some surgeries carry a paralysis rate that most patients won’t gamble with.

Instead, the first step you should take is to seek out the help of a good chiropractor. Your chiropractor is trained in specialized techniques which can gently manipulate the spine, moving it back into place and opening the disc space. Your chiropractor will also give you targeted stretches and exercises to gently stretch and strengthen the muscles around your injured lumbar herniated disc, helping to hold the adjustments they make to your spine.

Your chiropractor will likely have other non-invasive therapy options available which can help speed up your healing process after your initial injury. These options usually include things such as cold laser therapy, electric muscle stimulation (EMS), and massage therapy.

Cold laser and EMS therapies work by stimulating blood flow to the affected area, promoting tissue regeneration and growth and reducing herniated disc pain. It lowers inflammation and swelling, which alleviates a lot of the pain symptoms. Patients typically notice a difference in their pain levels in 1-2 sessions.

Massage therapy also stimulates blood flow to the affected muscles and tissues. Massage therapy can lessen the tension in the muscles, allowing the body’s natural structures to settle back to normal and the chiropractor’s adjustment to hold.

Acupuncture and yoga have also been proven to help lessen sciatica pain and strengthen key muscle groups to promote healing. Non-invasive procedures and therapies help keep you moving and reduce the time you spend out of work, recovering from procedures. Non-invasive therapies work with your schedule and life to help you get back to your daily activities much sooner than surgery.

The light at the end of the tunnel

While the initial diagnosis of a lumbar herniated disc may seem dire, in reality, there’s a lot your chiropractor can do to get you back on your feet and feeling normal again. Don’t risk surgery or other invasive procedure which can cause unnecessary pain and problems; instead, seek out a chiropractor to help get your spine back in shape.

A herniated disc does not have to be the end of life as you know it. With a little help from your chiropractor, you can get back to activities that are most important to you and your family.

Final thoughts

Chiropractic helps your nervous system for improved wellness and a better quality of life. Why not let us help you by calling and making an appointment?