Sciatica 101

One of the most common issues our clients have is sciatica. With that in mind we wanted to write a short post about this issue – what causes it and what can be done about it?

One of the most important factors of sciatica to keep in mind is that sciatica is a symptom. This means that you will only get sciatica if there is something larger going on. There must be a problem somewhere further up the chain for you to start suffering from sciatica.

So, what is sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that occurs from some sort of pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve. The pain can materialise anywhere down the sciatic nerve pathway, which runs from your lower back, down through your glutes, down the back of your thigh and terminates at the foot. It is typically reported to be a sharp, intense pain. However, there can be a tingling, numb sensation as well.

What is the cause of my sciatica?

There are many causes of sciatica, however there are often a few of likely culprits. These are:

  • Piriformis syndrome – there is a small, strong muscle in the buttocks called the piriformis. The sciatic nerve runs beneath or, occasionally, through it. If the muscle tightens or becomes aggravated and then inflamed it can place pressure on the nerve.
  • Herniated discs – imagine the disc between your vertebra as a jam filled donut. When the donut is placed under stress the jam can sometimes be forced out. At times, this ‘jam’ can press on the sciatic nerve and cause pain as mentioned above.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis – this is typically an issue for people over 50 in which the spinal canal starts to narrow. This tightness, like the above, puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.

So how can you treat it?

The treatments are as varied as the causes, and will differ from patient to patient. A quick google search will bring a whole host of stretches which are thought to alleviate the pressure on the nerve. How successful they are is entirely dependent on the root cause if the issue. Anti-inflammatories can also provide some relief, however these are very much a bandage and not a cure.

The single best treatment for sciatica is to see a professional to determine the root cause – only then can a n effective treatment be prescribed.

If you are suffering from sciatica and are seeking some reprieve just call our clinic on 0113 2383693 or contact us here.


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