What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is a long nerve that starts in the spinal cord of the lower lumbar spine (lower back) and travels through the buttocks and down into your thigh and leg.
True ‘sciatica’ is the irritation of, or pressure on, this nerve.
What causes Sciatica?
The irritation of the sciatica nerve can be triggered by a number of conditions. This includes; prolapsed, bulging or slipped disc in the lumbar spine. Or swelling around the nerve from a sprain or injury to the lower back. Bony spurs due to joint degeneration or arthritis place pressure of the nerve. And muscle tension in the lower back or piriformis muscle (which is a muscle in the middle of your buttocks), can also result in sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatica:
Symptoms can vary, however typically they include:
- Either a deep ache or sudden shooting pain experienced in the; lower back, gluteal (buttock), back of the thigh and leg, and or even into your heel and foot.
- A burning pain or sensation. Along with pins and needles, numbness or tingling along the nerve pathway.
- A feeling of weakness in the whole leg and foot.
- Pain is worse with prolonged sitting or standing, when coughing or sneezing or by bending or any twisting of the back.
- Generally, only one side of the body is affected.
How can Bendigo Osteo help with Sciatica?
At Bendigo Osteo we regularly treat people suffering from sciatica. Our Osteopaths will work towards determining the cause of your sciatica by taking a detailed case history and preforming an physical assessment. Understanding the cause is critical to correct and effective treatment.
Once this is determined our Osteopaths will provide osteopathic treatment to counteract the strain in the soft tissues – muscles, tendon and ligaments that are contributing to the sciatica. The aim is to take the pressure off the sciatic nerve, and the irritated underlying lumbar discs, joints and local inflammation.
Treatment can involve massage, stretching, dry needling, lymphatic drainage, counter strain, manipulation, articulation or cranial treatment. It will also likely include advise on posture, rest, altering your movement patterns and any home rehabilitation exercises or stretches.
If our Osteopaths suspect that there is more serious injury to your lower back, they will refer you also to have medical imaging.
If you have never been to an Osteopath and want to know more about the types of treatment methods we use click here.
Helpful things to remember with sciatic;
Sciatic may be treatable without medication and or surgery.
Sciatic can be an indication of a serious lower back injury so don’t ignore it.
The early the treatment the quicker the recovery.
There are a range of risks factors also that may contribute to sciatica. This includes the later stages of pregnancy, general weight gain, performing heavy lifting or twisting and prolonged sitting. Osteopathy is a holistic form of health care, so these things will also be discussed with you.
If your sciatic is a result of a work or traffic accident check out our link for more information.