The 101 on sciatica and ITBS

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Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) and sciatica are a painful hitch in the giddy-up of anyone who endures them. Dr. James Stirton of Winters Chiropractic, however, sheds light on these proverbial pains in the neck – and lower body.

Because they cause similar types of pain, ITBS and sciatica are often mistaken for one another. Generally speaking, ITBS is the result of overuse and stress on connective tissues and causes pain in the outer thigh and knee.

Meanwhile, sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve. Pain from this ailment usually occurs on one side of the body, shooting from the lower back and buttocks down the leg to the heel.

“Sciatica is less common than ITBS which is important to talk about,” Stirton said of the similarities. “I get people coming in thinking they have sciatica, and when I see them, they have ITBS. The edges of the band in the back half of the leg, and the other edge in front of the thigh can give you pain in the hip that mimic each other.”

Regardless of their sources and similarities, sciatica and ITBS pain follows a person every step of their day. Luckily, there are steps to take that’ll keep one ahead of the pain.

“On the chiropractic side, we treat more than the tissue and muscles. The treatment for sciatica is: physical therapy to reduce spasms; ice and heat to reduce inflammation; stretching; and, even foam rolling is one of the things I give patients to physically break up the restriction of the tissue,” Stirton said of remedies he’s suggested. “Interesting about sciatica and ITBS, when it responds well to chiropractic, it’s handled within 30 days. On the medical side, it could take four to eight weeks. I would recommend physical treatment first with massages and stretching. If you’re not getting results, take a multi-disciplinary approach with medical.”

Joint supplements are also an aid to those fighting off pain. In Dr. Stirton’s practice, he recommends ArthroAid Plus for its composition of premium ingredients like: Glucosamine Sulfate, Collagen Hydrolysate, Chondroitin Sulfate, White Willow bark extract and Hyaluronic Acid.

Dr. Stirton’s number one recommendation for dealing with sciatica and ITBS, however, is not just ‘toughing-it-out.’

“If you have any pain in the hip and leg, it’s a sign to seek chiropractic and medical attention. It’s not just seeing if it goes away in a couple days, you’re letting that area degenerate and over time it gets harder to fix the areas you’re neglecting,” Stirton warns. “For long term care for ITBS and sciatica is flexibility training like yoga. Movement in the joints reduces stress on facia, muscles and IT bands to create normal tension on that tissue.”

Due to their heavy ramifications, sciatica and ITBS are not to be taken lightly. To find out more information on this topic, don’t waste time sifting through pages of misinformation online when you can reach Dr. Stirton directly at with any questions. It’s like the good doctor always says. “If you’re not certain, ask Dr. Stirton.”

Dr. James Stirton, received his Doctor of Chiropractic from Life West College of Chiropractic in 2002 and is a California state appointed Qualified Medical Evaluator.

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