What is sciatica, and how can I get rid of it?
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that travels down the low back via the sciatic nerve in the 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 primary cause of your sciatica may require further investigations to eliminate or confirm its origin.
What can I do to help my Sciatica?
Watch this video for some simple stretches to help reduce symptoms. Please seek Professional advice for your specific situation before attempting these exercises.
Common Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica is an injury caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. Pressure on the sciatic nerve from inflammation, tight muscles, a herniated disc, compression of the nerve from bony arthritic growths or a locked facet joint in the lower spine can commonly cause sciatica.
What are Sciatica Symptoms?
Sciatica causes pain that usually begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttock, leg, calf and, occasionally, the foot. The pain can vary between dull, aching or burning sensations and sharp, shooting pains.
Sciatica can also cause tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the affected leg. It is very important to seek medical attention in these situations as long-term nerve compression can 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 arrange for CT scan or an MRI scan to check for problems in the spinal vertebrae that 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 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 before restoring normal back movement, resting muscle tension, lower limb muscle 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.
Do you think you might have sciatica?
See one of our Physiotherapists to be fully assessed, and find out what you need to do to recover.
18 Partridge St Glenelg SA