Relief from Sciatica
Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis but a term used to describe pain extending down the leg that could be caused by a number of conditions.
Traditionally, sciatica described pain caused by a disc injury; nowadays it collectively describes any leg pain that originates from the lumbar spine (lower back).
Terminology aside, sciatica can really hurt! It can be anything from fleeting, self limiting irritation, to a chronic debilitating condition that can adversely affect home and work life.
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0121 439 2726
Symptoms of Sciatica
Conditions causing sciatica vary (see below) , however symptoms of sciatica can include:
Pain in the back that can be felt in the thigh, leg, foot or toes
Sciatica most commonly affects one side rather than both
A tingling or burning sensation that radiates down the buttock, leg and/or foot
If the sciatica is advanced, it can cause weakness of the leg muscles
If you are experiencing any numbness in your ‘saddle area’ (the areas between your legs and your inner thighs that would rest in a saddle, i.e. where you wipe yourself) or have difficulty controlling your bowel or bladder (a new difference in the ability to stop or start) you must seek urgent medical advice. This could represent cauda equina, which is a medical emergency.
Causes of Sciatica
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back, through the legs to the tips of the toes. It is very important in motor (movement) and sensory (sensation) function of the lower leg.
Sciatica can be caused by any condition that irritates the sciatic nerve. These can include:
Trapped Nerve in the Lumbar Spine: The nerves of the lower lumbar spine come together to form the sciatic nerve, so irritation at the lumbar spine level could cause sciatica.
Disc Herniation or Bulge: you may have heard of this referred to as a ‘slipped disc’ . A disc is the ‘softer’ matter that sits between the bones of the spine (vertebrae). If the disc bulges (like a balloon that has gone out of shape), it can cause pressure on spinal nerves that can result in sciatica.
Piriformis Syndrome: The piriform is a muscle of the buttock that sits very close to the sciatic nerve (in 10% of the population the sciatic nerve actually travels within the body of the piriformis muscle). If the piriformis is tight it can cause sciatic nerve irritation.
Muscle Pain. Muscles in the buttocks or lower back, known as trigger points, can cause sciatica like pain down the leg.
Chiropractic treatments, including massage and adjustments can help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Stretches and exercises (which we will go through with you) are vital in keeping the symptoms at bay and maintaining wellness.
Dr Ben Smith, our Chiropractor, will take a thorough history and examination to be able to advise you on the best treatment and self help pathways to ensure optimal management of this troublesome condition.
If he felt that chiropractic would not be the right option for you, he would be able to advise on referral to the right person.