What is Sciatica?

back pain, lower back pain

Sciatica

Sciatica pain starts in the lower back or buttock travelling all the way down to the toe. Due to the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. It most commonly affects one side. Sciatic nerve pain often varies in intensity and frequency. Most of the times, it may feel like a sharp, jabbing, electric shock like pain. Furthermore, it can also cause burning, numbness or tingling . It can cause muscle weakness in severe cases. 

Typically, sciatica is made worse by bending, lifting, sneezing and coughing. It is a common problem for manual workers, sedentary office workers and also during pregnancy. 

Causes of Sciatica

Pressure on the Sciatic nerve can be due to the following different reasons:

  • Tightness of the piriformis muscle. It is a very deep muscle in the buttock. Due to its closeness to the nerve, ti can cause compression.
  • Bulging disc or herniated disc. This is the most common cause. It is also a whole topic in itself and will need another article! In short, it can happen due to poor posture while sitting or lifting. In addition to these,  accidents or falls can also cause the disc to bulge
  • Dislocation of the bones of the spine
  • Arthritis
  • minor fractures due to thinning of bones- osteoporosis

Diagnosis of Sciatica

Since there are many disorders that can cause sciatica, your physiotherapists’ first task is to determine the exact cause of your sciatic nerve interference.

 

Physiotherapy treatment always begins with a thorough history, spinal, orthopaedic and neurological examination.  Special diagnostic imaging investigations such as X-ray, CT, MRI and posture pro scan may also be required to accurately diagnose your sciatica.

Treatment of Sciatica

Symptoms can be hard to notice from a patients perspective as not all sufferers will feel pain in their lower back. Get Better Physiotherapy offers the latest in Sciatica treatments and products to relieve the pain and to help repair the injured area.

 

As sciatica is due to pressure on the sciatic nerve, it stands to reason that treatment involves removing this pressure.  Your Physiotherapy treatment aims to achieve this by reducing nerve pressure caused by poorly moving spinal joints as well as easing muscular tension in the lower spine, buttock and leg.  This is achieved by using a combination of the following techniques:

  • Spinal mobilisations
  • Massage therapy and trigger point therapy
  • Stretching tight muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments
  • Ultrasound and other electrical stimulation devices
  • Advice in relation to how to minimise pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerve

 

In addition to this, you will be given a series of home stretching exercises and asked to apply ice and heat to help aid your recovery.

 

Don’t suffer in silence. Effective treatments are available and can help you get rid of the pain and regain your lifestyle.