What Kind of Doctor Treats Sciatica?

Chiropractors can treat sciatica. Orthopedists, physiatrists, physical therapists, and neurosurgeons also can serve patients who are struggling with the discomfort associated with this condition.

If you are not sure where to turn for relief, the team at Naples Community Injury Center (NCIC) is ready to help you with chiropractic care and specific sciatica treatment. Reach out to us today to see how we can serve you.

How Our Chiropractors Treat Sciatica

A Guy Holding Both Hands on His Lower Back with Pain

Because of the wide range of potential sources of your sciatic pain, our chiropractors go through a series of steps to try to find the source of the pain and alleviate it.

Spinal Manipulation Could Help With Sciatica

One of the most common and successful chiropractic-based treatments for sciatica involves regular spinal manipulation. When the joints in the spine do not have proper alignment, this condition could be placing pressure on the nerve roots, leading to sciatic pain.

Through spinal manipulation techniques, chiropractors can gradually bring the spinal joints back into alignment and help them stay there. For some patients, spinal manipulation provides almost immediate pain relief from sciatica. For others, it may take several office visits to find the desired level of pain relief.

Physiotherapy Treatments Our Chiropractors May Try

Some patients respond well to additional treatments beyond spinal manipulation for sciatic nerve pain. Your chiropractor might recommend that you include physical therapy options in your sciatica treatment plan. Some of the types of physical therapy treatments that may benefit you include:

Massage Therapy

Massaging the soft tissues around the spine can loosen muscles and can make the spinal manipulation techniques more effective.

Massage therapy is not only relaxing but it can also be used to treat many of the symptoms sciatica patients feel. Massage can help you by easing muscle tension, alleviating nerve compression, improving your range of motion, and increasing your flexibility. Massages are also known to improve blood flow, which can help with injury treatment.


Performing exercises in the office and at home can help to strengthen and add flexibility to muscles, which often improves range of motion and comfort.

Electrical Stimulation

Placing electrodes on the patient’s body that emit mild electrical pulses often can help. This treatment can show results with reduced back pain, improved blood circulation, and improved muscle tone. It may even block some pain signals.

Resistance Training

With resistance training, you can improve your muscle mass. If sciatica is affecting your ability to walk or stand for long periods of time, your physiotherapist might recommend resistance training to help you improve your mobility and strength. They’ll keep your physical limitations in mind to ensure you don’t push yourself too far and worsen your condition.

Gait Training

Gait training may be especially useful for sciatica patients whose ability to walk was affected. This type of treatment can be used to help control pain and improve muscle strength and balance. Your doctor will gradually push your limitations to ensure you are safely building muscle and improving your ability to walk.

How Our Chiropractors Can Provide Supplemental Care for Sciatica

Chiropractor Providing Supplemental Care for Sciatica

If a condition like infection, vascular disease, or cancer is the underlying cause of your sciatica, chiropractic care cannot treat or cure these conditions.

For example, if you need chemotherapy or surgery to deal with a tumor near your spine that is causing your sciatic pain, other doctors with a specialized area of focus would provide those treatments for you. Those doctors seek to cure the underlying problem that is causing the sciatica.

However, even in a case like this, chiropractors still may have a role to play in the treatment.

Chiropractors May Focus on Improving Your Mobility

Even when you are seeing a specialized medical professional for the underlying condition that is leading to your sciatic pain, our chiropractors may be able to help you with complementary treatments.

We may work on a plan of care that seeks to improve your mobility or reduce your pain. Chiropractic care in a case like this would focus more on the symptoms of sciatica, rather than the cause. Often, chiropractors can help patients receive an improved quality of life through these complementary treatments.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to nerve pain that tends to start in the lower back or hip before radiating downward.

People may have different levels of pain with sciatica, and it may start in slightly different areas. It is a general diagnosis of lower body nerve pain.

Some people describe it as a sharp pain, while others describe it as more of a tingling sensation. It can resemble the pain from a muscle pull or arthritis. Some other symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Pain that radiates down one leg
  • Pain in the feet
  • Increased pain from walking
  • Tenderness
  • Numbness after sitting for a long period
  • Struggling to walk long distances
  • Compromised bladder or bowel functions

Herniated Discs Can Lead to Sciatica

Typically, sciatic pain starts when someone suffers a compression of nerves or discs in the lumbar portion of the spine. This is the area where nerve roots move out of your spinal cord.

An injury to your back, such as a herniated disc, is a common reason why people develop sciatica. A herniated disc occurs when one of the discs that fit between the vertebrae of your spine slips out of place. Common causes of herniated discs include:

  • Strenuous activity that strains the spine
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Bending in an odd position while lifting something
  • Repetitive movements involving twisting the back
  • Sitting in a chair for too long

A chiropractor can use spinal manipulation to try to ease the disc back into place, often alleviating the pain from sciatica.

Other Causes of Sciatica

Beyond a herniated disc, some of the most common situations that cause sciatic pain include:

  • Bone spurs: When bone tissue in the spine overgrows, it could cause a compression of the nerves in the spine, causing pain.
  • Back injury: People may develop sciatica after a fall from a height or a car accident causes an injury to the spine. This type of injury could involve a herniated disc, muscle damage, and ligament damage.
  • Tumors: A tumor in the back that is pressing on the nerves exiting the spine could create pain that becomes sciatica.
  • Disorders: Illnesses that cause damage or degradation of the spine or soft tissues associated with the spine can lead to sciatica. These can include arthritis, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, and other diseases.

Who Is Most Likely to Develop Sciatica?

Certain risk factors make certain patients more prone to sciatica than others. If you have any of the following health complications and experience symptoms of sciatica, you may want to visit a doctor for a potential diagnosis:

  • A current or previous injury. Spinal injuries may make you even more susceptible to sciatica.
  • Heavy lifting. Whether you’re lifting heavy objects in the gym, at work, or in your daily life, this can increase your risk of sciatica. Heavy lifting can cause herniated discs, which often cause sciatica and back pain.
  • Obesity. Being overweight can strain your spine and pelvis, which can make it more likely that you develop sciatica.
  • Core weakness. If your core is weak, it can cause spinal issues that lead to sciatica. Your doctor may recommend regular exercises to strengthen your core.
  • Poor posture. If you have poor posture, it’s likely that your weight is not distributed evenly along your spine. This can cause sciatica when your nerves and spinal cord are irritated.
  • Aging. As we age, our muscles, bones, and other body parts naturally wear down. In general, sciatica is more common in older people than it is in younger patients.

How Your Chiropractor Will Identify Sciatic Pain

Sometimes, your chiropractor can diagnose sciatica by learning about your symptoms and health history. They might also perform a physical examination and order medical imaging like X-rays or MRI scans. There are also a few tests that your doctor might use to diagnose sciatica, such as:

  • Walking. Your doctor may be able to diagnose sciatica by noting issues in the way you walk.
  • Leg raise test. Your chiropractor will have you lie on an exam table, lifting one leg at a time. They’ll ask you to explain when you begin feeling pain, which can help them pinpoint the exact area of concern.

They may ask you to perform other stretches and exercises to discover any other issues that may be causing your condition.

Let NCIC Develop a Sciatica Treatment Plan for You Today

The chiropractors at NCIC know how to treat the symptoms of sciatica as well as many of the underlying injuries that are causing sciatica.

Don’t continue to try to push through your sciatic nerve pain. Call Naples Community Injury Center today and let our doctors set up a treatment plan to start working toward giving you some relief.