Decoding Lower Back Pain and Sciatica: A Comprehensive Guide

September 6, 2023

At ProActive Health, we encounter numerous patients seeking relief from lower back pain and sciatica. Though these conditions can manifest with similar symptoms, they have distinct underlying causes and require different treatment approaches. In this article, we will explore the differences between lower back pain and sciatica, shedding light on how our office takes a proactive stance in managing these conditions effectively.

Lower Back Pain: Understanding the Basics

Lower back pain is a common ailment affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. It can result from various factors, including muscle strains, ligament sprains, poor posture, and degenerative conditions like herniated discs or osteoarthritis. Patients with lower back pain often experience localized discomfort in the lumbar region, which may range from mild aching to severe pain. The pain might intensify during movement, sitting for prolonged periods, or lifting heavy objects.

The Chiropractic Approach to Lower Back Pain

Our team of chiropractors at ProActive Health understands that lower back pain is often rooted in spinal misalignments and muscular imbalances. Through careful examination and diagnostic procedures, we identify the precise cause of the pain and devise tailored treatment plans to address it effectively.

Chiropractic Adjustments: The backbone of our approach lies in chiropractic adjustments. These gentle manipulations aim to realign the spine, reduce nerve compression, and promote optimal function of the nervous system. By restoring proper alignment, our patients often experience relief from lower back pain and improved mobility.

Therapeutic Exercises: To complement chiropractic adjustments, we prescribe specific therapeutic exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles and improve flexibility. These exercises not only aid in pain relief but also prevent future episodes of lower back discomfort.

Unraveling the Mystery of Sciatica

Sciatica refers to a condition characterized by pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down through the hips, buttocks, and legs. The most common cause of sciatica is the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, often due to a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. This compression can lead to sharp, shooting pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the nerve pathway.

Differentiating Lower Back Pain from Sciatica

While both conditions may present with lower back pain, there are key differences that can help distinguish between the two:

1. Pain Distribution: Lower back pain tends to be localized in the lumbar area, while sciatica pain follows the path of the sciatic nerve, radiating down one leg. The pain may extend into the buttocks, thigh, or even reach the foot.

2. Nerve Symptoms: Sciatica often exhibits nerve-related symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or weakness in the affected leg. These symptoms are not typically present in cases of non-sciatic lower back pain.

3. Aggravating Factors: Lower back pain may worsen with certain movements or positions, whereas sciatica pain is commonly exacerbated by sneezing, coughing, or sitting for extended periods.

ProActive Health Sciatica Management

At ProActive Health, our approach to sciatica involves a thorough assessment to identify the root cause of nerve compression. We employ a combination of chiropractic care, spinal decompression therapy, and lifestyle adjustments to alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve and promote healing.

Spinal Decompression Therapy: This non-surgical treatment gently stretches the spine, creating negative pressure within the discs. This can help retract herniated or bulging discs, reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve and alleviating pain.

Lifestyle Modifications: We work closely with our patients to identify lifestyle habits that may be contributing to their sciatica. Simple adjustments in posture, exercise routines, and ergonomics can make a significant difference in managing sciatic pain.


As chiropractors at ProActive Health, we understand that distinguishing between lower back pain and sciatica is crucial for providing effective care. Our tailored treatment plans address the unique needs of each patient, aiming to alleviate pain, enhance mobility, and restore overall well-being. If you or someone you know is experiencing lower back pain or sciatica, we encourage you to take a proactive step towards a pain-free life by seeking professional chiropractic care.

Visit us at ProActive Health today to “Align Your Spine, Realign Your Life!”

Ready to see a chiropractor, whether for the first time or as someone looking to visit a new chiropractic office? Dr. Doug Patterson or Dr. Michael Hummer at ProActive Health is the top choice in the Michiana area! They will help guide you in developing a plan to tackle a routine exercise plan, consuming the right foods, and targeting your goals with chiropractic care.

Dr. Doug Patterson hurt his back in 1993 thus he first sought the care of a Chiropractor. After this experience, he decided he wanted to help people himself by pursuing chiropractic. He is a 1997 graduate of the Life University College of Chiropractic in Marietta, Georgia, and has been in practice for 25+ years. Since then, Dr. Doug has expanded his field of practice to include functional medicine,  science-based nutrition, and now certified in Shockwave Therapy. Schedule a visit with Dr. Doug at ProActive Health today!

Dr. Michael Hummer is native to northern Indiana. He grew up very active and found great enjoyment playing football, rugby, and wrestling. Dr. Mike earned his undergraduate degree in Dietetics at Ashland University where as a student-athlete he was a member of the varsity wrestling team. After graduation, he went on to become a personal trainer, and through his passion for both fitness and nutrition, he helped people to achieve their own goals and acquire greater health and wellness. At the same time, he also enjoyed working with and inspiring the local youth throughout his community through his dedication as a volunteer wrestling coach. Now Dr. Mike is excited to apply his education from Logan University and versatile skill set in aiding the community as they strive for greater health and happiness. Dr. Mike is also certified in Shockwave Therapy.. Schedule a visit with Dr. Mike at ProActive Health today!

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