What is sciatica?
Sciatica is nerve pain resulting from an injury, inflammation, pinching, compression or irritation
to the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain can radiate a reasonable distance throughout the body because
the sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest nerve we have. Comprising of five nerve roots, the
sciatic nerve originates in a person’s buttock/gluteal area. Two of the nerve’s five roots
originate in the lumbar spine, while the other three are from the final section of the spine
called the sacrum. The five roots join together to form a right and left sciatic nerve. One sciatic
nerve runs from your hips to just below the knee on each side of your body. From there, the
nerve then branch’s out into other nerves, which continue to your toes. While the term sciatica
is quite specific, the expression is sometimes used to describe any pain in the lower back that
radiates down the leg.
Am I at risk of developing sciatica?
It is thought that as many as 40% of people may suffer from sciatica during their lifetime, and it
can become more prevalent as you age. Yet sciatica can impact anyone.
Both men and women may be more at risk if they are:
· Have a sedentary lifestyle
· Work a physically strenuous job
· At an advanced age
· Carry out strenuous exercise, including heavy lifting, for example.
What are the symptoms of sciatica pain?
If you have sciatica, you may experience mild to severe pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve.
Symptoms of sciatica include shooting pain in your bottom and the backs of your legs, even the
feet or toes may feel painful. The pain may be described as a stabbing, burning or shooting
sensation. It could even manifest a tingling sensation like pins and needles or numbness. Your
symptoms may be worse when moving, coughing or sneezing. Though you may also suffer back
pain, this is sometimes not as severe as the pain in your bottom, legs or feet.
If your pain is mainly back pain and not radiating to behind the thigh or below the knee, you
likely do not have sciatica. But it is best to get thoroughly checked.
Why see an osteopath for sciatica nerve pain?
By visiting an osteopath, you can get the important confirmation that what you are suffering
from is actually sciatica. As soon as you are diagnosed, seeing an osteopath for sciatica is your
road to a quicker recovery. They will develop a treatment plan to achieve the best results for
you from the initial consultation. The osteopath will conduct a comprehensive ’cause’ history to
assess if your sciatica has arisen from a previous injury, surgery, or even stress. The sciatic
nerve area will then be examined to determine the precise location of the pain and tension. The
purpose of osteopathic treatment is to reduce or relieve the pain you’re experiencing to
achieve better functionality and movement throughout your body. Osteopathic treatment for
sciatica can be very effective. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for sciatica includes carefully
opening out areas of the spine and reducing any pressure on the nerve. An osteopath will also
relax tight joints and muscles to help relieve the pain.
Things you can do to relieve sciatica
There are also several things you can do to help reduce the symptoms, which include:
· Gentle movements may keep the back flexible, but do check with a specialist first
· Ice packs may help reduce pain and swelling.
· Unless advised to do so, avoid staying in one position for a long time
· Perform gentle stretches or tailored exercises suggested by your osteopath
· Holding heat packs to the painful area may work for you.
· Putting a small, firm cushion between your knees when sleeping on your side can
bring some relief. Adding several firm pillows underneath your knees when lying on
your back has also brought relief to some suffers.
Although some people may benefit temporarily from over the counter medication like
ibuprofen, others have found this ineffective in treating musculoskeletal pain. Traditional forms
of physical therapy such as osteopathy often prove much more effective, especially long-term.
How long does it take for sciatica to go away?
For some, sciatica pain usually gets better in 4-6 weeks, though symptoms can last longer. To
speed up recovery from sciatica, seeking professional treatment is a wise option. Some patients
may suffer a reoccurrence of sciatica that could progress to becoming a chronic condition. An
osteopath may detect certain lifestyle habits that may be giving you flare-ups and setbacks.
Do osteopaths recommend exercises for sciatica pain?
Highly experienced osteopaths will often include specific and appropriate exercises alongside
the ‘hands on’ osteopathic treatment. However, it is essential to note that exercises for sciatica
are usually suggested on an individual basis. Therefore, searching for sciatica pain exercises on
the internet is not recommended, mainly because they may not be from a qualified
practitioner. Also, the movements promoted may not be suitable for your condition or may
even be detrimental to your specific situation. For this reason, speaking with a local osteopath
about your sciatic pain is advised. Sciatica sufferers will also appreciate the importance of a
good osteopath explaining every step, what specific treatment they are performing, what
exercises they offer, and why.
Are you looking for a Health Professional osteopath to assess and manage your sciatica pain?
The Team at Clusker.co.uk Osteopathy are here to help! Our osteopath and highly experienced
staff will conduct a thorough case history, perform a comprehensive physical examination, and
implement tailor-made treatment to aid your specific condition.