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Understanding Sciatica

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Written by Mindi Cotton | Posted on January 11, 2019

The word Sciatica is a liitle opaque, isn’t it? What does it mean?

The condition named “Sciatica” derives from the “Sciatic Nerve”. This is a major nerve in your leg, and supplies sensation nerves and power to your muscles, mainly below the knee.

The nerve starts in your low back, passing from your spinal cord to your leg. It runs through the lower buttock, the back of the leg, and eventually into the calf and foot.

If it is irritated, or injured, at any point along it’s course, you feel pain along the course of the nerve below that point. This is classic “Sciatica”, pain in the buttock and back of the leg.

Sciatic Nerve Anatomy

Why do I get Sciatica?

Whys do I get Sciatica?

If you look at the above graphic, you can see that the nerve to your leg (“Sciatic Nerve” in red) has to squeeze through a small hole to get out of your spine and down into the leg. The blue shock absorber between the bones of your back (vertebrae) can get swollen (“slipped disc”). The nerve is signalling pain from your leg to your brain. If the nerve is irritated along it’s course, the brain thinks the trouble is where the nerve comes from - down the back of your leg. So the Sciatic Nerve is injured in your back, but you feel it down your leg. This is called “referred pain”, and explains why you get pain, pins and needles or weakness down your leg. These symptoms may be vague, come or go, or be quite severe.

Sciatica Treatment

Like back pain, treating Sciatica first requires us to know what is injured.

Sciatica Treatment

Slipped Disc

If the disc is injured and swollen, treatment is lymphatic, to drain the swelling and reduce pressure on your sciatic nerve. This involves relaxing the spine, calming down any muscle spasm to reduce muscular pain, and treatment to loosen and stiff points in the back which allowed the overstrain to happen in the first place

As the swelling reduces the pain reduces, as research shows swelling to be very important in Sciatica. With improves circulation the irritation can heal and many people with sciatica have no more pain after treatment.

Piriformis Syndrome

If you injure the muscle in the back of your buttock, “Piriformis”, you can get sciatica, it’s just that the nerve is being “pinched” lower down. This pinched nerve usually responds very well to relaxing the hip and back generally, but needs an expert to diagnose correctly.

Can Osteopathy Help Sciatica?

Osteopaths are famous for treating low back pain and sciatica. We bring a “holistic” view to it (looking at the whole of you and your life)

  • How did this happen?
  • How can we help with the pain?
  • How can we get the spine back working properly again?
  • How do we switch on the healing powers of your body
  • What should you do to help it get better
  • Advice regarding exercises
  • Advice regarding medication
  • Advice regarding whether you need an MRI or X-Ray
  • Advice re working, posture etc.
  • Getting a work life balance
  • Assess if nutrition can play a part in recovery
  • Advice about Pilates, Yoga Core Stability exercises etc.

Phew! Getting you better requires careful thought, but that’s our job and we love it! We have helped many thousands of patients with Sciatica like you, read our reviews to get an idea of how people get on with our treatment.

Osteopathy can help relieve sciatica because our treatment will encourage “micro movements” of the cells and tissues, drastically improving drainage and so relieving swelling and pain.

We offer a free call back service, call reception and a senior osteopath will call you and see if we can help you.

"I would fully recommend Melindas insightful way of working"

Category; Osteopathy and Natural Therapies

"Having previously had lower back problems, I was obviously worried when I fell pregnant that my back would flare up again, or get worse. Unfortunately for me it did, with a little sciatica thrown in for good measure, but Melinda at the Fulham Osteopath Practice set me on the right path again. After only a couple of appointments my back was in much better shape, and the sciatica practically gone. With only a few weeks to go until the birth of my first child my back is now in great shape, due a few more maintenance appointments, and I would fully recommend Melindas insightful way of working and also tips for labour and its lead up, ensuring a healthy back, body and mind. Thank you!"

Written by: Jessica Littlewood - PR Manager

Osteopathy Treatment with Melinda
Date published: 10/02/2008

5 / 5 stars

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