Sciatica is suffered by as many as 15% to 40% of people over the course of their lifetime; however, because this condition is related to age, becoming more common as we grow older, many people accept the condition as a painful part of ageing, when in fact there are treatments available that may eradicate, or at least eleviate, the condition.
What is sciatica?
Whilst we’ve referred to sciatica as a condition, it is in fact a symptom. This misunderstanding is a common one, and not surprising given the often confusing definitions that are found online.
In the simplest sense, sciatica is the painful symptom of a pinched nerve – most commonly caused by a herniated or slipped disc. This pain may begin anywhere in the lower hip to glute region, and may run all the way down the leg to the toes. Further symptoms include:
– Weakness in the affected leg
– Lower back pain
– Shooting pains that make standing up difficult
– Burning or tingling in the leg
The most common causes of sciatica include: disc prolapse, facet joint swelling or arthritis.
What sciatica is not….
Differentiating between sciatica and other conditions can most often be undertaken by analysing the painful areas. Eric Mayer, MD, sports and spine specialist at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Spine Health, states that “if a patient has 80% leg pain and minimal back pain, it really turns on our radar for sciatica”.
That said, self-diagnosis of this condition, or equally any back pain, is a complex task for those who aren’t medically trained – and seeking out professional advice is an essential should you experience consistent leg or back pain.
How osteopathy helps with sciatica
Osteopathy can both help to relieve or eradicate sciatica as well as ensure that further painful episodes aren’t to be suffered. The most common forms of treatments following a consultation include:
- Slow spinal mobilisation of the lower lumbar spine
- Release of muscle spasm
- Traction of Lumbar spine manually
- Gently moving and manipulating the affected joints.
- Rehabilitation exercises
- Advice on ergonomics / work posture
Each of these aims to relieve pressure and inflammation of the so-called sciatic nerve.
If you’re suffering with sciatica or back pain, call us on 020 3589 8664 for an appointment. We treat back pain all the time, and it’s the most common reason why people come to us.