What is Sciatica?

A true Sciatica is the term used to described pain and tingling running down the back of the leg caused by compression of the Sciatic nerve. It can occur in both young or old, from manual labourers (incorrect lifting technique) to sedentary office workers (poor posture). Pain that runs from the buttock/lower back region running down the leg can also be caused by other structures in the area too.

Signs & Symptoms

- A constant “burning” pain that radiates down the back of one leg to the foot (rarely in both legs)

- Tingling, pins-and-needles, or numbness sensations are common

- The pain can be sharp or shooting with certain movements, ie getting up from a chair, walking, bending

- Back pain is common, but not always present

- Muscle weakness, or difficulty moving the foot or leg. It may feel 'heavy'

- Diminished reflexes

- Bowel or bladder problems (This is very serious. If you have recently started to experience Sciatica and have lost control of your bowel or bladder seek medical attention immediately!)

What causes Sciatica?

A true Sciatica is caused by the irritation or compression of the Sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and travels down through the buttock and into the back of the leg. Compression at any point along the nerve can give “sciatica” type pains. A number of structures or conditions that can cause this compression include:

- A slipped disc in the lower back

- Degenerative disc disease

- Arthritic spurs or stenosis (age related narrowing of the spinal canal)

- “Stiffness” in the lower back joints

- Piriformis syndrome (tightness of the piriformis muscle in the buttock “strangling” the nerve)

- Pregnancy

- A spinal tumour (very rare)

- Spondylolisthesis (spinal fracture)

What you can do at home?

Sciatica is not an issue to try and manage yourself. That being said, gentle movement and not resting too much is a good start, complete rest is very rarely a good idea for pain in and around the back. Your main priority should be to see your Physio for a timely diagnosis and treatment plan. 

How can we help?

The most important thing that your expert Physiotherapist at Swan Physio can do, is give you an accurate diagnosis, and help you formulate a plan to fix the issue. As mentioned above, the symptoms can be caused from different issues, or not even be a true Sciatica. You need to know the cause of the issue, so that it can be correctly treated. The spine is an important part of our body, and we need to give it care sooner rather than later when there is an issue. 

- Soft Tissue Massage to relieve pain and muscle spasm which may be compressing the nerve.

- Acupuncture / Dry Needling for enhanced pain relief and to deactivate painful trigger points. This can be used with Electrotherapy if indicated.

- Mobilisations & Manipulations (Adjustments) of the lower back to improve spinal movement and alignment.

- Stretching exercises to help relieve pain by allowing the sciatic nerve to move normally again.

- Core Strengthening exercises to help support the spinal column and prevent re-injury.

- Education & Advice about how to reduce pain and minimise pressure on the sciatic nerve. 

- Cortisone Injections can be organised by referral to a Medical Specialist.

Are you are suffering from Sciatica for the first time, or having repeat bouts? Are you concerned it may become a permanent or disabling injury? Research shows that physiotherapy is proven to be an effective way of treating Sciatica.

See an expert at Swan Physiotherapy now and be free from your sciatica forever by getting the correct diagnosis and a treatment plan for the long term.

If you are in pain and need to get this fixed ASAP… book online now!  


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