Sciatica; what causes it?
From desk-workers and mum’s, to tradies and retail workers, lower back pain referring along the buttock and legs is a common complaint that we see at the Bodywell clinic. For almost 10% of the population, sciatica is a real pain in the butt!
But just what is sciatica?
Sciatica is a term that is used to describe nerve pain that typically originates in the lower back, and radiates deep into the buttock region and travels down the leg and foot.
This pain is often described as a shooting pain or a burning sensation, and usually occurs on one side of the body.
You may also experience a sensation of numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected leg.
Sciatica is essentially an umbrella term to describe these symptoms, however there are several different possible causes for this pain.
What causes sciatica?
The sciatic nerve forms at the base of the spine, from the nerve roots of the fourth and fifth lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, and the first three sacral (pelvic) vertebrae.
These nerve roots then pass below the piriformis muscle in the buttock, along the back of the thigh under the hamstrings muscles, and then divides into two branches after it passes through the back of the knee.
Any condition that causes irritation or compression on the sciatic nerve at any point along this pathway, can be considered a cause of sciatica.
Some common causes of sciatica include:
- Disc bulges/disc herniations in the lower back
- Joint sprains in the vertebrae of the lower back
- Piriformis syndrome (compression/irritation of the sciatic nerve due to spasm of the piriformis muscle)
- Pregnancy-related sciatica due to postural changes during pregnancy and increased fluid retention in the legs and pelvis
Osteopathic management of sciatica
At Bodywell Healthcare, our osteopaths will conduct a thorough assessment of your spinal mobility and alignment, movement patterns, muscle strength, muscle tightness, and lower body movements, to help us gather the information we need to make an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment will typically focus on improving joint mobility, reducing muscle tension, and improving posture and alignment. We will also provide advice on stretching and strengthening exercises that are best suited to your goals and your abilities.
The good news is that with appropriate management, osteopathic treatment may assist in providing relief from both short-term or long-term sciatica symptoms.
Where do I go from here?
Do you have any questions about whether osteopathic treatment might be right for you? You can call us on 9717 1200 to speak with one of our friendly team members.
Alternatively, if you would like to book an appointment with one of our osteopaths you can call the clinic, or you can book online here: https://www.bodywellhealthcare.com.au/book-online/