What is Sciatica, and how can I treat sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness. It is often felt in the low back and back of the leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and originates from the spinal segments in the lower back.

Sciatica is a description of symptoms, not a diagnosis. While the diagnosis of sciatica is reasonably simple, the cause of your sciatica may require further investigations.

What can I do to help?

Watch this video for some simple stretches to help reduce symptoms. Please seek Professional advice for your specific situation before attempting these exercises.

Exercises to help Sciatica

Common Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica is an injury caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Pressure on the sciatic nerve can be from a range of reasons. Inflammation, tight muscles, a herniated disc, or nerve compression due to arthritic growths may be contributing to your symptoms.

What are Sciatica Symptoms?

Sciatica causes pain that usually begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf. Occasionally, you’ll only feel it in one of these areas, or symptoms can go as far as the foot. The pain can vary between dull, aching or burning sensations and sharp, shooting pains.

Often symptoms can be very debilitating. You might find you have disrupted sleep, difficulty doing the simplest tasks, and quite significant pain levels. With the right treatment and the correct exercises, these symptoms can reduce significantly within 2-4 weeks

Location of Sciatica symptoms

Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg. It is very important to seek medical attention in these situations. Long-term nerve compression could permanently damage the nerve and its function.

How is Sciatica Diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist will listen to your symptoms and examine you, paying special attention to your spine and legs.

Your physiotherapist or doctor may send you for X-rays, or another scan to check for problems in the spine. Structural changes in your spine may be irritating or compressing your sciatic nerve.

What treatment will help sciatica?

As the cause of sciatic pain is the not same for every person, the treatment also varies for every person. Your physiotherapist will assess your individual presentation and develop a treatment program specific for you.

Generally, the initial aim of treatment is to reduce pain and inflammation. Then the focus moves to restoring normal movement, muscle tension, lower limb flexibility and posture.

Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best exercises for you specific for you. Sciatica does have a tendency to return if there is insufficient rehabilitation in the first instance.

What is Sciatica, and how can I treat sciatica?

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