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What is Sciatica?

A Bit About Sciatica...

Sciatica is any kind of pain that is caused as a result of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the back of the pelvis all the way down the legs to your feet, being irritated or compressed.

If you’re suffering from sciatic pain you’ll feel a pain radiating out from your lower back and travelling down your leg to your calf and foot, which can be extremely painful in cases. As well as leg pain symptoms of sciatica can include pins and needles, numbness, cramping and muscle weakness.

If you have sciatica, your:

  • Bottom
  • Backs of your legs
  • Feet and toes

may feel:

  • Painful – the pain may be stabbing, burning or shooting
  • Tingling – like pins and needles
  • Numb
  • Weak

Your symptoms may be worse when moving, sneezing or coughing.

You may also have back pain, but this is not usually as bad as the pain in your bottom, legs or feet.

What Can Cause Sciatica?

The most common cause of sciatica is a 'slipped disc' or disc prolapse, this is where the soft inner material of the intervertebral disc (the cartilage shock absorber between the bones of the spine) pushes out through the tougher outer edge of the disc (a bit like jam oozing out of a doughnut!). This can also occur in the discs in the neck. The result is irritation and compression of the nearby nerves. Depending on where the disc prolapse is and how big will determine whether you experience just pain or pins and needles, weakness or numbness in the legs.

Poor posture, poor ergonomics such as heavy lifting with a bent spine, prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity can all contribute to wear and tear of the spinal discs resulting in a disc prolapse.

What Can Go Wrong?

  • Disc prolapse or slipped disc (the most common cause) – when the disc between the bones in your spine pushes out
  • Spinal stenosis – narrowing of the spinal canal where nerves pass through
  • Spondylolisthesis – when one of the bones in your spine slips out of position
  • Osteoarthritis - bony spurs from wear and tear of the spine can compress or irritate the nerve
  • Myofascial trigger points - tightness in the muscles of the buttocks can compress and irritate the sciatic nerve

Specialist Treatment And Prevention Of Sciatica

At The Medical we offer a wide range of services to treat sciatica. Our treatments are delivered by a team of exceptional practitioners. Our specialist practitioners, combined with the unique treatment methodology we've developed, means we deliver the highest quality service and best possible results.

The NICE Guidelines, based on the best available scientific evidence, promotes the use of manual therapy (mobilisation, manipulation, soft tissue techniques) and strengthening exercises for the treatment of back pain and sciatica.

At The Medical, we specialise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of back pain:

  1. Diagnosis - 3D Movement Scanners
  2. Treatment - manual therapy, such as manipulating the spine and massage, carried out by physiotherapists or chiropractors
  3. Strength and conditioning - Pilates and rehabilitation where you're taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture

Your road to recovery begins with a full assessment with a physiotherapist or chiropractor

If you have a particular question about Sciatica, why not ask one of our expert clinicians for some free advice?