What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the medical term for any irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body and typically results from pressure on the sciatic nerve. Pain is frequently felt in the calf and lower leg, commonly radiating from the lower back. It often spreads to the feet and toes. Usually, only one side of the lower body is affected.
The sciatic nerve originates in the spine and runs through the buttocks, legs, and feet before ending at the back of the pelvis.
However, sciatica is the term used to describe any leg pain, regardless of its underlying cause. Mild to severe types of pain are possible. The condition may return and become severe, resulting in muscle numbness and weakening.
What are the causes of sciatic pain?
The main causes of sciatica are as follows:
- Any pressure on the sciatic nerve
- Slipped disc or disc prolapse
- Joint inflammation results in swelling around the sciatic nerve.
- An arthritic bony spur
- A herniated or bulging intervertebral disc
- Tension in the piriformis muscle
- Pressure from a bulging disc
- Changes in the spine as a result of osteoarthritis
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the gaps or the nerve pathway within the spine)
- Growth within the spine, such as a tumor
What are the risk factors?
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of exercise
- Wearing high heels
What are the symptoms of sciatica ?
The signs and symptoms of sciatica and sciatic nerve pain are as follows:
- Shooting pain on the back portion of the legs that may radiate to the ankle
- Referred pain on the side of the leg or over the groin
- Limited movement of the leg or foot
- Lower backache
- Throbbing Pain in the Lower Back
- Pain over the buttocks, hamstrings, and calf
- Burning sensation on the legs
- A tingling feeling in the legs
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of tendon reflexes
What could be increase the symptoms ?
- Long periods of standing or sitting
- Coughing or sneezing
- Other impulses, like laughing,
Usually, sciatica pain will go away on its own in a few weeks. But if pain persists, in addition to pain in the back and legs, the patient may also feel the following symptoms:
- Weakness and numbness in the leg and foot
- The excruciating pain that is unbearable and cannot be controlled by the sufferer
- Changes to bowel or bladder control
How to prevent sciatic pain / sciatica ?
Following therapy, numerous more activities are carried out as part of the treatment to control the pain, lessen repetitive stress, and help prevent recurrence. These activities include:
- Flexibility-improving exercises
- Stretching (both before and after exercising)
- Cold pack / Heat packs
- Advice on proper sitting posture
- Medicinal supplements
- Methods for lifting weights at the Workplace
How Osteopathic treatment can help with Sciatica pain ?
If you are experiencing sciatica, it is crucial to seek the advice of a trained professional. Osteopathy and osteopaths are able to treat sciatica, assist you in making a quick recovery, and adopt strategies using an osteopathic treatment and management plan to address the condition and prevent sciatic pain from returning in the future.
Osteopaths are highly competent at determining the cause, providing the correct diagnosis, and developing personalised treatment regimens.
Osteopathic treatment attempts to restore your quality of life and return you to normal life by determining the origin of your sciatic pain and reducing the strain on the sciatic nerve.
Osteopathy can treat the pain in specific and affected locations by reducing muscular spasms, enhancing joint mobility, functional movement, and lymphatic drainage of the lower leg and pelvic areas.
An accurate case history of the patient is taken in the beginning to comprehend any illnesses, injuries, stress, repetitive stress, surgeries on or that influence the hips or spine, as well as previous reports and medical tests.
After the symptoms and diagnosis are considered, treatment will be effective. Osteopathic techniques use safe, gentle manipulation and massage to increase mobility and relieve pain.
Tests are performed on the hips, legs, and back to develop ideas about flexibility, strength, reflexes, and sensation. The patient is capable of tolerating the techniques performed. The patient’s pain is relieved by getting them to a point of balance to prevent severe pain.
The lower back muscles, as well as the piriformis and buttock muscles, are also relaxed. Due to the fact that the lower back needs to move relatively little throughout the entire procedure, the patient is always comfortable.
What methods Osteopaths employ to manage sciatica ?
- Joint mobilisation: increasing the range of motion and releasing nerve compression reduces pain in the lower back and legs.
- Soft tissue massage improves blood flow and reduces muscle spasms.
- Exercises and postural counseling – Recurrence risk is decreased.
A complete examination is conducted to determine the pain and tension in the area as well as the functionality of the muscles and joints. This aids in comprehending the related muscles or joints and the necessary actions to correct any spinal misalignment.
The pelvis, the leg, and other body parts that interact with the spine are all closely examined to determine whether they are contributing to spinal dysfunction or not.
Osteopaths do a variety of physical examinations to check for:
- Strength of muscles
- The sensation changes (due to neurological issues)
- Special Orthopedic tests
- Gait, is the way a person walks
- The ability to walk
If needed, an osteopath may refer to perform further tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and blood tests (to rule out infections).
When treating sciatica, an osteopath also places equal emphasis on other parts of the body because the spine might experience several compensating issues.
Osteopathic procedures can reduce the consequences of chronic pain by relieving nerve pressure, lowering referred pain, and relaxing muscles with gentle techniques.
Exercise recommendations are also offered. You can engage in light workouts like swimming that are not strenuous with the guidance of our osteopathic practitioners. In the event of persistent sciatica, sciatica stretches, or nerve flossing can be used, but only when professionally trained by an osteopathic practitioner. Please make an appointment or contact us to discover how our Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine can help improve your health with a holistic approach.