Sciatica – what a pain in the butt!
Sciatica is the condition which causes pain in the buttocks or the back of the legs, and is caused by irritation or compression to the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve originates in the Lumbosacral plexus of L4-S3 in the lower back and in runs down the gluteal region and down the back of the leg into the toes. The Sciatic nerve divides into the Peroneal and Tibial nerves which innervate different parts of the lower leg, foot and toes.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when the nerve root is irritated; this can be caused by a number of different conditions:
- Lumbar Herniated disc: – This occurs when the soft inner part of the vertebral disc leaks and irritates the nerve root.
- Degenerative disc disease: – Despite most people experiencing some degeneration with age, some people experience excessive degeneration which results in inflammatory proteins becoming exposed due to a weakened disc, and this irritates the nerve root.
- Spondylolithesis: – This describes when a vertebrae ‘slips’ out of position, either forwards or backwards which can pinch the nerves, causing sciatic symptoms.
- Piriformis Syndrome: – The sciatic nerve runs underneath the piriformis muscle in the gluteal region. If the piriformis muscle gets tight it can irritate the nerve. Whilst this is not clinically defined as sciatica, it produces the same symptoms.
Common symptoms of Sciatica:
- Pain that originates in the lower back and follows the route of the sciatic nerve, through the buttock and down the back of the leg.
- The pain is often only in one leg, rarely does sciatica affect both sides.
- Pins and needles sensation, numbness or weakness in the legs.
- A sharp, shooting pain in the back of the leg which causes difficulty when standing up.
- Pain is often constant.
So what can you do?
- Hot & Cold packs – Apply each for several minutes, begin with ice and then heat. Ensure you place a cloth between ice and the skin to prevent ice burn.
- Strengthening – Strengthening the gluteal, lower back and core muscles help support the spine by keeping it ‘aligned’ and enabling movements that extend or twist the spine.
- Stretching – Hamstring and gluteal stretching reduce compression placed on the sciatic nerve.
- Soft tissue therapy – Massage can also relax the surrounding muscles to reduce compression placed on the nerve.
How can LIVEWELL help you?
Our therapists at LIVEWELL are highly qualified in assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions; you may find that you would benefit from soft tissue therapy, particularly targeting the lower back, gluteal group and hamstrings. We can also assist in providing tailored rehabilitation programmes specific to your needs. With our areas or knowledge we can help you reduce and manage your sciatic symptoms.
For further information please contact us via telephone 0330 043 2501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org