Sciatica is an uncomfortable condition which can cause pain and discomfort to radiate from your lower back to your toes.
It causes such widespread pain because it relates to the sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in your body. When this nerve is compressed, it can cause pain in several areas of your body, including your hips and legs.
There are ways to ease the pain and discomfort that come hand in hand with sciatica. Though options like heat pads can help ease pain temporarily, support from an osteopath or chiropractor can address the root cause of sciatica and prevent re-injury.
Sciatica can cause pain to radiate from your lower back to the surrounding areas of your body, including higher up your back, as well as your hips and legs. The pain can be felt like an electric shock, or a deep burning sensation.
It can also cause other uncomfortable sensations, like tingling, numbness or weakness in your back, hamstrings, legs and feet.
Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. This can happen due to a number of different reasons.
You may have injured one of your spinal discs, either due to a single stress, like lifting a heavy weight, or by repetitive strains like poor posture.
It may also be caused by spinal joint degeneration around the nerve, or muscle spasms around the nerve roots and along its pathway. The piriformis muscle is often involved in sciatic nerve compression and techniques of osteopathy and chiropractic are particularly efficient at addressing this form of sciatica.
As we age, sciatica may be caused by prolonged wear and tear to the spinal joints and lumbar discs at the base of the spine, commonly caused by overactivity throughout your life, or beginning a new, vigorous form of exercise later in life.
One of our osteopaths or chiropractors will complete a comprehensive assessment of your body in order to discover the root cause of your sciatica. This will inform their treatment plan, which will be personalised to your needs in order to reduce your pain and restore your full range of motion.
During your initial assessment, your practitioner will determine whether you need to be referred to a medical doctor for a spinal x-ray or MRI. This is to rule out any other injury which could be contributing to your pain.
Our osteopaths and chiropractors will use soft tissue release techniques in order to loosen the muscles which can press against the sciatic nerves and cause pain. These muscles are called the gluteal and piriformis muscles, and very often, loosening these muscles can be the key to relieving sciatica. Massage is also used to reduce irritation to the sciatic nerve.
They will use manipulation and mobilisation techniques in order to improve your range of motion and flexibility, so that you can move through daily life without pain.
They’ll also teach you exercises in order to strengthen your body and reduce your risk of re-injury. By addressing your whole body, osteopaths won’t only treat your sciatica and relieve your symptoms, they’ll improve the health of your whole body.
Acupuncture can also help relieve inflammation and pain, while our naturopaths can offer anti-inflammatory recipes and supplement recommendations in order to speed up your recovery.