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Published by Better Health Osteopathy on 16 March 2020, Back Pain
The term ‘sciatica‘ refers to pain, inflammation and neurological sensations associated with the sciatic nerve, most commonly presenting itself as pain radiating down the back of the leg. It most commonly occurs when a herniated disk or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the sciatic nerve. The pain can be described as anything from a dull ache to a sharp shooting pain down the leg that can leave the person momentarily incapacitated.
Although the pain associated with Sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve within 6 weeks. However, some people who have severe Sciatica associated with significant leg weakness, foot drop, or bowel or bladder changes may require surgical intervention.
People experiencing Sciatica may have a number of symptoms that could include any one or more of the following:
Sometimes people are unaware that their symptoms relate to Sciatica, so it is helpful to understand what causes it. There can be a number of underlying conditions contributing to the pain associated with Sciatica, and these may include.
Risk factors for Sciatica include:
Your Osteopath can diagnose Sciatica after taking a detailed medical history and physical examination. MRI and other imaging are not normally required unless your symptoms are severe and we suspect that a corticosteroid injection or surgery may be required. If this is the case, your Osteopath will make a referral to an Orthopaedic specialist and request an MRI.
Although most people recover fully from Sciatica, Sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any bowel or bladder function loss.
An Osteopath is able to work towards relieving the symptoms of Sciatica by seeking out the underlying cause of the pain. In most cases, sciatic nerve pain can be improved by decreasing muscle spasms, improving joint mobility and overall spinal functional movement, thereby relieving stress on the affected areas. Treatments may include a combination of manual joint manipulation or articulation, muscle, or tendon manipulation to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Once the initial pain has been reduced, an Osteopathic treatment approach will include focusing on rehabilitation exercises with a view to preventing further episodes. This will involve an exercise regime that aims to restore mobility, build postural strength and encourage muscle activation.
If you are struggling with sciatic pain – please do not hesitate to contact the Osteopaths at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or book online.
Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible. Lorraine is also a clinic tutor on the Osteopathic Course in Ara and relishes the opportunity to teach the next generation of osteopaths.
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