What is Sciatica?
Sciatica typically refers to the pain that is experienced down the sciatic nerve, that is, the nerve that runs from the buttock, down the back of the leg and sometimes further down the leg. However, not all leg pain is due to the sciatic nerve.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is caused by the pinching of the sciatic nerve either from a disk injury, that is a bulging or herniated disk that is pushing directly onto the nerve. Alternatively it can be caused by a particularly tight muscle in the buttock called the piriformis muscle, this is referred to as piriformis syndrome. On rare occasions there can be a growth such a tumour or cyst that can trap the nerve.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms often include back pain on one side, pain into the buttock and the back of the leg, pain into the lower leg and into the foot, tingling or numbness into the lower leg, sometimes there can be a burning pain into the lower leg and foot, the pain is often made worse by sitting or standing still for long periods of time.
What are the treatment options for Sciatica?
Treatment is aimed at performing a full assessment to determine the severity of the condition and will dictate the way it should be treated. It may be that the patient may be referred for surgery but in most cases, it can be managed with physical therapy. Treatment may involve stretching out the spine and so taking the pressure off the back, this is called flexion-distraction. The local muscles are then released and gentle adjustments to the spine are performed to help the body accommodate to the problem and so speed up the recovery time. At the same time, the patient has to make lifestyle modifications to help in the recovery process, which includes dietary changes, using ice and heat and doing gentle exercises to help the body repair itself. Sciatica varies greatly in its recovery period, it may take from a few weeks to a number of months to settle down with conservative care.
For more information, call your local clinic on the number below.
London, Canary Wharf Clinic; (Canada Place Shopping Mall): 0203 197 9100
Leeds : 0113 345 5060