Copyright: Dr. Brian Abelson, February 2002
Edgemont Chiropractic Clinic
Active Release Technique
for the Treatment of Sciatica
By Dr. Brian Abelson DC.
In Chiropractic, it is generally believed that Sciatica is commonly caused by the
compression of the nerve root at the Lumbar Disc or Foramen. This is certainly
what I believed, and what I was treated for prior to my experiencing a L5/S1
prolapse into my own spinal canal. My experiences, since that time have caused
me to change and adapt a new perspective.
Like most Chiropractors, I treated Sciatica with a variety of standard Chiropractic
adjustments and achieved relatively good results. In most cases, our patients
(after an extended period of care) got to a point where they experienced little or
no pain as long as they received regular maintenance care. Unfortunately the need
for ongoing maintenance care often indicates that the root cause has not been
In my own case, I demonstrated all the classic neurological signs of a prolapsed
disc including severe Sciatic pain that felt like a continuous burning knife stabbing
from my low back to the bottom of my foot. Nothing could relieve this pain, not
Chiropractic adjustments, nor massage therapy, or stretching. I only received
relief when I had a partial microdiscectomy of the L5/S1 vertebra.
After the operation I was able to return to my practice with minimal discomfort.
Four to six weeks later I was essentially back to pre-injury status, but continued to
have some low-back pain and ongoing Sciatica. I also continued to experience
numbness in my leg and foot. These symptoms were managed through regular
Chiropractic adjustments and exercise. But it became obvious to me that neither
the surgery, nor the Chiropractic treatments were effective in identifying or
treating the root cause of the problem.
About one year after my operation, I started to train in, and to practice the Active