Many people self-diagnose with sciatica when they have a shooting pain that runs from their back or hips and down their legs. But when they visit us at Fiona Passey Osteopaths, we often find that people aren’t really too sure exactly what it is or what is causing it.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is when the sciatic nerve, that runs from your hips to your feet, is under pressure or irritated. It can cause pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in your hips, back, bottom, backs of your legs, feet and toes, and normally lasts for four to six weeks.
What causes it?
The most common cause of sciatica is a slipped disc or a back injury. A slipped disc is when one of the soft cushions between the bones in your spine, known as a disc, becomes inflamed. Spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the part of your spine where the nerve passes through, can also cause it, as well as spondylolisthesis, a condition which sees one or more of the bones in your spine slip out of position.
How can you help yourself if you have sciatica?
Although it can be tempting to spend time simply lying down when you have muscular or joint pain, it is important to do some gentle exercise. Likewise, maintaining a good posture when standing or sitting is particularly important in helping sciatica symptoms improve, as is stopping smoking.
How can an osteopath help relieve symptoms of sciatica?
As osteopaths, we take a holistic approach to your symptoms and use massage techniques and muscle manipulation to help relieve pain. We do this by working on joints and soft tissue structures like muscles, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue in order to take some of the load off the sciatic nerve. Sometimes it may be beneficial to have an MRI which can be arranged privately or through the NHS. This allows us to clearly see what is putting the pressure on the sciatic nerve and therefore plan an appropriate course of treatment.
If you need help with the painful symptoms of sciatica, please contact our highly trained osteopaths today who may be able to help.