This is a very common thing for me to hear from a patient who was injured in a car accident. Pain down the leg can possibly be something called sciatica.
Sciatica is a term referring to severe pain in the leg. It is often accompanied by numbness, weakness and tingling sensation originating in the lower back and traveling downwards through the buttock. These sensations travel through the large sciatic nerve present in the back of the leg.
The most common cause of sciatica and back pain following a car accident is the sheer force that the seat belt places on the lower back and the associated nerves. When involved in a car crash, your seat belt anchors your hips down to your seat, and the forces of being hit cause the area directly above the seat belt to move forward. This creates a sheering force across the fifth and last bone in the back and all of the nerves associated with it. On top of this sheering force the resultant injury causes the body to spasm and this pinches all of the nerves around the spasm in the muscles
Sciatic pain can be very severe and can be felt in the lower back region, buttocks, and various parts of leg and foot. People suffering from sciatica will find it difficult to walk, or even get up from bed.
Some of the common symptoms of sciatica are:
1. Tingling or burning sensation in the leg
2. Weakness in the leg or foot, difficulty in movements
3. Sharp pain that may make it difficult to get up or walk
4. Pain in one side of the buttock or in one leg
There are 2 cases though in which immediate medical attention has to be sought:
1. Progressive weakness in leg
2. Urinary or bowel incontinence
People with the above symptoms may have cauda equina syndrome and should to directly to the emergency room.
Treatment for Sciatica:
Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem such as herniated disc. In order to treat sciatica, the underlying problem has to be determined. There are various ways to treat sciatica. Surgery is only required in severe cases, otherwise this problem can be treated with non-surgical treatment methods.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be extremely helpful with sciatic pain. In fact it is one of the things that we specialize in here at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. Back exercises, stretching exercises, healthy diet, and massage can also be extremely helpful in eliminating sciatica. There are numerous natural and home remedies to ease the suffering. Here are a few things you can try:
1. Taking turmeric daily can help in reducing some of the nagging pain because of the anti-inflammatory agents in tumeric.
2. You can apply winter green oil to the affected leg for relieving the muscle pain.
3. You should not be still for extended periods of time. You have to keep moving, but not too fast to aggravate the pain. When you sit or lie down for a long time, the muscles will tighten, thus increasing the pain.
If you are suffering with sciatica since your car accident, please give us a call at 425-635-0495. We would love to see if you are a candidate for the type of care that we deliver for car accident victims.
Dr. Michael Weir is the clinic director at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. We will also be hosting a variety of relevant guest bloggers to help you understand your injuries better.