Lower Back pain
Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots of each sciatic nerve or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves.
Symptoms include lower back pain, buttock pain, and pain, numbness or weakness in various parts of the leg and foot.
Other symptoms include a “pins and needles” sensation, or tingling and difficulty moving or controlling the leg.
Typically, symptoms only manifest on one side of the body.
The pain may radiate below the knee, but does not always.
Sciatica is a relatively common form of low back and leg pain, but the true meaning of the term is often misunderstood.
Sciatica is a set of symptoms rather than a diagnosis for what is irritating the root of the nerve to cause the pain.
Treatment for sciatica or sciatic symptoms often differs, depending on underlying causes and pain levels.
Causes include compression of the sciatic nerve roots by a herniated (torn) or protruding disc in the lower back
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:
- Piriformis syndrome (tightness of the piriformis muscle in the buttock that compresses the sciatic nerve).
- Spinal misalignments, vertebral dysfunction.
- Herniated disc, disc prolapse.
- Poor posture – wearing high heels, prolonged sitting, poor mattress.
- Poor lifting technique and poor bending habits.
- Spinal compressions due to osteoporosis.
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 may also be required to accurately diagnose your 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:
- 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 minimize pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerveIn 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.If you are suffering with sciatica at the moment please do not delay – you can achieve the best results when you address the symptoms early…please contact us to begin your care today!