New Research on Chronic Sciatica & Chiropractic

Research News Staff
New Research on Chronic Sciatica & Chiropractic

Chiropractic Can Help Ease Suffering 

Recent research reporting on a woman with a 23-year-history of low back pain and sciatica reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in caring for these patients. The research reported in the Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research showed improvements in her pain and quality of life after chiropractic adjustments to the upper part of the neck.

CLICK HERE to review the research 

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between structural abnormalities in the spine and the nervous system.” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. 

Research has shown not only that the nervous system relies on normal structural integrity and joint movement, but that complex neurological communication and pathways involved in helping humans balance and orient themselves in space are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways. 

Abnormal spinal alignment and posture are associated with poor general health, physical function, emotional function, social function, neck and low back pain. Normal spinal alignment and movement provides shock absorption and leverage, which protects the spinal cord and nerves from the forces of gravity and other daily traumas one may encounter. 

McCoy stated “Abnormal spinal alignment and posture also increase stress and strain to the nerve and blood supply of the spinal cord. This can seriously affect the nervous system.” It is a rare phenomenon for resolution of these abnormalities in the absence of intervention. However, there is literature that supports the effectiveness of chiropractic to restore a healthy spinal alignment and motion according to the research, thereby lowering the risk of chronic pain, degeneration, and poor health. 

The woman in this case study had been suffering from low back pain and sciatica for 23 years.  The cause was unknown.  Her most recent episode flared after working out over six months prior.  Since then she complained of sleeping difficulties due to the pain traveling down her leg.  She was experiencing constant pain all day as well as at night and was also suffering from migraine headaches. 

The chiropractor examined her and found structural shifts in her upper neck and lower back.  She had postural changes, pain, and tight muscles in her neck and throughout her body.  X-rays and other testing confirmed these findings.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

Following chiropractic care to her neck her symptoms improved dramatically.  She noticed improvement in her activities of daily living, her pain decreased, and she felt much better overall. 

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in this patient population.

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research
McCoy Press