What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is actually the name given to sciatic nerve pain.
The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve of the human body.
It originates at the level of the last two lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum, and descends to the back of the thigh and knee before dividing into two nerves (Tibial and Fibular) which will innervate the leg and the foot.
What Causes Sciatica?
The pain is due the to pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve at its root or along its passageways.
Its origin can stem from a variety of musculoskeletal problems such as muscle spasm, herniated disc, spinal joint degeneration (bony spurs) ....
Symptoms of Sciatica
Sciatica is characterized by pain radiating along the pathway of the sciatic nerve: buttock, back of the thigh, calf and ending in the foot. The pain can sometimes stop at the knee.
There is often associated weakness, numbness, and tingling in the leg and foot.
How can Osteopathy help
Your osteopaths will first determine the exact cause of your symptoms.
In some cases, your osteopath may decide to refer you to your doctor for further investigation (X-Ray, CT and MRI scans) in order to accurately diagnose your problem and eliminate any pathological causes.
Sciatica, when there is no associated pathology, may be due to loss of joint mobility especially in the lumbar spine and pelvis.
The resulting tensions and adaptations of the musculoskeletal system will be responsible for the pressures exerted on the nerve.
Your osteopath will perform a thorough clinical assessment exploring the areas where the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated.
The aim of osteopathic treatment is to settle down the acute pain, release the areas of pressure / irritation on the nerve and encourage normal movement of the body using gentle manual therapy techniques, such as soft tissue massage and manipulation of the joints.
Written by: Osteopath Sabrina Peyandane