Sciatica

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SciaticaSciatica is characterised by pain that starts in the lower back or buttock and travels into one or both legs. Sciatic nerve pain often varies in its intensity and frequency. Usually, there will be a component of sharp, jabbing, or “electric shock” pains that radiate into the legs. Sciatica pain is also commonly associated with burning, numbness, and tingling sensations. Muscle weakness is another frequent symptom of sciatica that requires careful monitoring.

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

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica nerve pain is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve – a very large nerve that originates from the lower lumbar spine and travels through the buttock into the leg as far as the back of the knee.

Pressure on the Sciatic nerve can result from a number of reasons including:

  • favicon Piriformis syndrome (tightness of the piriformis muscle in the buttock that compresses the sciatic nerve
  • favicon Spinal misalignments, vertebral dysfunction
  • favicon Herniated disc or disc prolapse
  • favicon Osteoarthritis
  • favicon Poor posture – wearing high heels, prolonged sitting, poor mattress
  • favicon Poor lifting technique and poor bending habits
  • favicon Spinal compressions due to osteoporosis.

Diagnosis of Sciatica

Since there are many disorders that can cause sciatica, your physiotherapist’s 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

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:

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

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

If you are suffering with sciatica right now, please do not delay. You can achieve the best results when you address the symptoms early. Simply contact us to begin your care today.