Am I suffering from Sciatica and what can I do about it?

 

Kayleigh Fugl, Doctor of Osteopathy, make her blog debut, by giving you some ideas about what sciatica is, and what can trigger it off. Kayleigh loves swimming with dolphins, going to the cinema, and improving peoples’ lives by making them feel better and happy. 

 

 

 

SCIATICA

What is sciatica?

It describes the symptoms of leg pain and possible tingling, numbness or weakness that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Sciatica is often accompanied by low back pain, or rather, the low back problem can become sciatica if not sorted out. Occasionally, patients even report no low back pain, just sciatica. However, once treatment commences, the sciatica improves and leaves some low back pain residue, which then also resolves over time. 

 

What causes it?

It could be caused by a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease DDD – a breakdown of the discs, spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another) or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). It rarely occurs before the age of 20 and becomes more common in middle age around 40-50. Tends to develop over time. Most clients with treatment tend to get better within a few weeks. However, if a pinched nerve, it may take longer, as nerve tissue is a slow structure to heal compared to muscle or even bone!. Other causes can be piriformis syndrome and SIJ dysfunction. Pregnancy, scar tissue, muscle strain, spinal tumour, infection, fracture or A/S can be other causes of sciatica.

 

What have you probably tried?

Over the years, we have heard about the many many things you have tried, in a bid to help relieve sciatica pain. The most common ones were anti-inflammatories, cocodamol (which then makes you either spacey or constipated, or if you are unlucky, both!), hot water bottle, NHS physiotherapy, massage, and 2 sessions with a chiropractor. What most of you don’t necessarily realise is that most of these often help, when applied in a certain way, in a certain order, and tried for a certain length of time. Let your Back 2 Balance chiropractors and osteopaths hold your hand and guide you to a life less painful.

How do we treat it?

Soft tissue techniques can be performed on the muscles to reduce irritation on the nerve. Manipulation (or as we call them adjustments) and mobilisation can be used to help increase the range of motion in the lower back and/or pelvis. Dry needling (a western style of acupuncture) can help and exercises are given to do at home too.  Exercises such as stretching the piriformis muscle will help relieve pressure off the nerve. Lift your left leg and place your right ankle on top of the left knee, hold this position for 3-5 seconds and repeat for the other leg. You can do this lying on your back or seated. Also stretching the hamstrings will help and strengthening the gluts. To stretch the gluteal medias, on all fours or lying on your side, knees bent, lift one leg slightly away from the other and hold it and return it to the other leg but without contact. Stretching the lower back muscles too will help, lying on your back with your legs rotated to the side, holding this position and repeat to the other side.

Preventing sciatica

Exercising and stretching regularly

Maintaining good posture, especially when sitting

Bending your knees to lift heavy objects

Being regularly adjusted by your chiro and osteo

Drinking plenty of water and having good levels of omega 3 oil

If you are suffering, and feel like you want another opinion, or want us to take a look at your sciatica, please feel free to contact us on 01273 206868 or email us info@chiropractorsbrighton.co.uk. You can even speak to one of the clinical team if you need reassurance. 

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