Sciatica is a common condition that we (as Physiotherapists) see on a weekly basis in clinic. The condition can present in many ways, but the symptoms can include pain, reduced strength and pins and needles along the sciatic nerve pathway.
Patients we see in clinic will often describe pain in the lower back, which radiates into the buttock and down the back of the leg. The pain often stops at the back of the knee, but it can radiate as far as the big toe - which is where the sciatic nerve ends. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, so compression on this can be very painful.
Sciatica can be caused by a number of different things. It can in some cases be innocuous, for example: turning in bed or getting washing out of the machine, or it can be caused by greater force such as lifting too heavy a weight in the gym, having an impact to the back or falling. Sciatica can also occur in the later stages of pregnancy. It can be caused by a disc bulge, irritation to the nerve where it exits the spine or severe muscle spasm to the local area causing compression on the nerve.
The symptoms are usually one sided, but if they are in both legs at the same time this may indicate central compression on the spinal cord. This in combination with incontinence or numbness in the groin, would require immediate medical attention.
Physiotherapy can help greatly if you are suffering with sciatica. Our aim is to speed along the body’s healing response, to reduce pain, inflammation and irritation / compression on the nerve and relax the surrounding soft tissue. We achieve this using a variety of manual treatments, including; massage and trigger point release to relax muscle spasms and promote blood flow, acupuncture to stimulate the body’s natural pain relief mechanisms and to help reduce inflammation, the use of hot / cold packs as appropriate and a home exercise plan tailored to the patient to increase core strength and reduce the risk of recurrence.
If you are suffering with sciatica, we would love to help you recover as quickly as possible. Please feel free to call us at Choice Physio on 01279 882518 for more information, or you are welcome to book an appointment online at www.choicephysio.co.uk.
We look forward to helping you soon!