The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, running from your lower back, through your pelvis and buttocks and all the way down both legs, to your feet. Any pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve is often referred to as Sciatica. The pain caused radiates out from your lower back down to your calf; this pain ranges from mild to very painful.
Causes of sciatica
The most common cause of Sciatica is disc injuries (mentioned in a previous blog here by Dynamic Osteopaths) and is often referred to as a ‘slipped disc’. Other common causes can involve lumbar spinal stenosis (spinal foramen narrowing), degenerative disc disease (arthritis / spondylosis) and pregnancy. Less common causes include injuries, infections, or growth in the spine.
Symptoms of sciatica
If you are suffering from Sciatica you will experience at least one of the following symptoms;
1) Constant dull pain in one side of your buttocks or leg.
2) Felling of burning or tingling down your leg.
3) Numbness and difficulty when moving your leg or foot.
4) When you stand or walk you experience difficulty due to a sharp pain.
5) When sitting the pain worsens.
Treatment of Sciatica
Acute sciatica may pass without the need for actual treatment, however it is always important to get it checked by your osteopath. Meanwhile to help relieve the symptoms you can take over the counter painkillers, apply hot or cold packs to the area and perform light exercise. In more chronic case of sciatica when pain is persistent, here at Dynamic Osteopaths we provide light manual therapy along side a structured exercise programme under supervision to help ease your symptoms and provide a better recovery. Failing all means of conservative treatment by your osteopath an epidural steroid injections can also be delivered at the source of the inflamed sciatic nerve root to help alleviate the pain. If the pain has not been relieved with manual or medical treatments as stated above then surgery may be needed, but this is very uncommon.
Prevention of Sciatica
To help prevent sciatica there are some measures you can put in place to minimise your risk of a back injury or ‘slipped disc’ that could lead to sciatica. Firstly, you need to ensure you have a good posture and if you are required to lift heavy objects at work you need to ensure your lifting technique is suitable to stop injury. Secondly, before you participate in any form of exercise ensure you stretch and when you have finished the exercise session stretch again. Lastly, there are some very simple and regular exercise that you should perform to help improve your flexibility to minimise the risk of a back injury.
For further information on sciatica and the treatment/management of sciatica please contact Dynamic Osteopaths on the following:
T: 07966 317712
Dynamic Osteopaths have osteopathic clinics operating out of Henley In Arden Warwickshire, Solihull and Harborne Birmingham.