Sciatica is a term used to describe leg pain that radiates from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the back of the legs, possibly to the feet. I see this in Practice a fair bit, with treatment often having good outcomes on relieving symptoms.

What are the causes?

The most common cause of Sciatica is a slipped disc. Other causes include lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, piriformis syndrome and pregnancy. Less common causes include injuries, infections, or growth in the spine.

What are the symptoms?

If you are suffering from Sciatica you will experience at least one of the following symptoms:
  • Constant pain in one side of your buttocks or leg.
  • Feeling of burning or tingling down your leg.
  • Weakness, numbness and difficulty when moving your leg or foot.
  • When you stand or walk you experience difficulty due to a sharp pain.
  • When sitting the pain worsens and is aggravated especially by driving

Lower back pain may be present, but this is often not as severe as the leg pain

*Red Flag Symptoms*

If you experience these symptoms in both legs, with bowel or bladder changes please seek urgent medical advice.

Treatment of Sciatica

There are both surgical and non-surgical avenues for treatment of Sciatica. An acute episode will pass, however this can take a few weeks.

Osteopathy is an ideal treatment of choice as Osteopaths can work on decompressing the nerve using various different techniques, thus relieving symptoms. Additionally they will provide aftercare advice and a structured exercise programme. Osteopaths will also look at what my have caused the problem in the first place. Common causes include an imbalance in muscle tension, leg length discrepancies and poor posture.

If pain is not relieved with manual treatment, then epidural steroid injections can be delivered at the source of the inflamed sciatic nerve root or surgery may be required. This, however, is not common.

Prevention of Sciatica

To prevent sciatica use the following guide:
  • Ensure you have good posture
  • Walk or swim to strengthen the lower back
  • Lift heavy objects safely using your legs and not your lower back
  • Stretch after participating in exercise
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time

For more advice please do not hesitate to call Bure Valley Osteopaths on 07555 348631 or email:

Thank you!

Gemma Sethna (MOst)

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