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sciatica shooting pain can be an extremely painful condition characterised by nerve pain, that affects millions of people around the world. Sciatic pain is caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, running from the lower back to the legs. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain and mobility issues.

Two of the most common symptoms of sciatica are pins and needles or numbness in the affected area, followed by shooting pain that can be severe. In this blog post, we will explore these two symptoms in more detail and what they might mean for those experiencing them.

What causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg . This pressure can be caused by a herniated disc, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, nerve root impingement, bone spurs in the spine, and nerve damage amongst other factors.

In some cases, muscle spasms or injuries can also put pressure on the nerve and cause sciatica. Understanding the root cause of sciatica is important so your GP and healthcare provider can determine the best sciatica treatment solutions.

Who is at risk of suffering from Sciatica?

Anyone can suffer from sciatica, but certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of sciatic nerve pain. Age-related changes in the spine such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and bone spurs are more common in people over 50.

However with the increased use of technology such as laptops, game consoles, tablets and mobiles phones younger age groups are starting to get affected.

People with physically demanding jobs or who do a lot of heavy lifting are also at risk of developing pressure on the nerve roots and sciatica. Obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk of sciatica.

Sciatica Diagnosis: finding the root cause

Proper diagnosis of sciatica requires a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and a detailed physical examination. Diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans may also be necessary to identify the underlying cause of the sciatica and improve the clinical outcome.

Once the root cause is identified, an individualized treatment plan can be created to address the underlying issue and alleviate the symptoms such as leg pain, hip pain, sciatic pain, numbness, and tingling.

Holistic treatment options for pain relief and correction of the underlying issue may include chiropractic care, osteopathy, physiotherapy, medication, or in severe cases, surgery.

A sciatica lasting more than 8 weeks is considered a chronic sciatica and may cause damage to the nerve if left untreated.

If an intolerable ‘sciatica pain so bad can’t walk on your own’ comes on suddenly, affecting both sides of the lower back it could be cauda equina syndrome and may require an urgent surgical intervention as failure to intervene early and quickly may cause lifelong damage.

If you suspect Cauda equina contact the emergency services and or visit the nearest A&E so they can assign a surgeon and specialist medical professional.

Common Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica is characterized by a range of symptoms, the most common of which is pain that starts in the lower back and radiates down one or both legs. Sciatica symptoms in hips are also common along with the buttocks. Pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or even an electric shock-like feeling.

Other symptoms may include pins and needles or numbness in the leg or foot, weakness or difficulty moving the leg, and sharp pain that makes standing up or walking difficult. In some cases, the pain may be so severe that it can be debilitating.

Chiropractic for Pins and Needles or Numbness

If you’re experiencing pins and needles or numbness in your legs or feet, it may be a sign of sciatica. Chiropractic care can be a safe and effective treatment for sciatic symptoms, including pins and needles or numbness.

Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to help alleviate the pressure on the sciatic nerve, including spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercises to improve stability, mobility, and flexibility.

By addressing the underlying cause of your symptoms, chiropractic care can help you find relief and get back to your daily activities without pain or discomfort.

How Chiropractors test for Numbness & Pins and Needles

Chiropractors use various diagnostic tests to identify the root cause of numbness, tingling, and pins and needles sensations. These tests may include checking the patient’s reflexes, dermatome testing, range of motion, and muscle strength.

Chiropractors may also use orthopedic and neurological tests to determine if the patient has a disc herniation or if the sciatic nerve is being compressed by a bone spur or a muscle in the buttocks.

They may also perform imaging tests such as X-rays (if clinically justified), MRI, or CT scans to get a more detailed look at the spine and surrounding tissues.

Are your Pins and Needles Sciatica Related?

Pins and needles sensation can occur due to several reasons, including poor posture, pinched nerves, and circulatory problems. Sciatica is a common cause of pins and needles sensation that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed. To determine if your pins and needles are sciatica related, you should see a chiropractor.

Chiropractors can conduct a thorough examination and perform the necessary tests to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. In some cases, other conditions like diabetes or carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause pins and needles sensations, so it’s essential to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.

Chiropractic for Shooting Pain

Shooting pain can be a debilitating symptom of sciatica. Chiropractic care can help relieve this type of pain by addressing its underlying cause. Chiropractors use a range of techniques such as spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercise therapy to target the root cause of the pain and alleviate it.

How Chiropractors test for Shooting Pain

To diagnose the cause of shooting pain, chiropractors may perform various tests such as range of motion tests, reflex tests, and sensory tests. They may also use imaging techniques like X-rays (if clinically justified), nerve function scans, EMG muscle function scans, a detailed postural analysis, and manual palpation of muscles and joints, to identify any structural abnormalities in the spine or surrounding tissues that may be causing the pain.

Is your Shooting Pain Sciatica Related?

Sciatica is a common cause of shooting pain, but it can also be caused by other conditions such as a prolapsed disc, spinal stenosis, or piriformis syndrome. A chiropractor can perform a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of your shooting pain and develop a personalized treatment plan to address it. If you’re experiencing shooting pain, it’s important to seek medical attention to avoid potential complications and long-term damage.

Treatment of Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve)

Radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve, is a condition that can be effectively improved by chiropractors. Chiropractic care focuses on correcting the misalignment causing compression of the spinal nerves that lead to the symptoms of radiculopathy.

Treatment may involve a combination of spinal adjustments, therapeutic exercises, and other modalities, such as electrical stimulation or ultrasound therapy. Chiropractic care is a safe and non-invasive alternative to surgery and medication, and many patients have found relief from their symptoms through regular chiropractic treatment.

If you are experiencing symptoms of radiculopathy, such as pain, tingling, or weakness in your arms or legs, it is important to seek professional help from a chiropractor or other physical therapist, who can diagnose and treat your condition.

By addressing the root cause of your symptoms, rather than just masking them with medication, chiropractic care can help you achieve long-term relief from the pain and discomfort associated with radiculopathy. Contact a chiropractor today to schedule a consultation and get on the road to recovery.


Sciatica is a common condition that can cause various symptoms, including pins and needles, numbness, and shooting pain. It is important to address these symptoms as they can significantly impact your daily life. Chiropractic care offers a safe and effective treatment option for sciatica and other forms of radiculopathy.

Chiropractors can diagnose the root cause of your symptoms and develop a personalized healing strategy for how to cure sciatica permanently. Aside from seeing the signs of sciatica improving with each adjustment, an experienced chiropractor will also optimise your nervous system, improve your posture and help you make healthier diet and lifestyle choices.

Call to Action

If you are experiencing symptoms of sciatica, such as pins and needles, numbness, or shooting pain, don’t wait to seek treatment or until you reach the last stages of sciatica as it becomes harder over time to achieve medium to immediate relief for sciatica pain the longer you wait. Contact a chiropractor today to schedule an appointment and start your journey towards relief. To book an appointment with one of our Healing Hands Chiropractors by visiting the clinic during working hours, calling our 24/7 helpline on tel:02089489102 or by booking your appointment online.