What can be done to help sciatica and what is sciatica?

The word sciatica is often used to describe leg pain that is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. Some people experience numbness and tingling, weakness or burning, alongside the pain. Symptoms will vary person to person. The pain may make it difficult to move in certain ways, to sit or even to walk. The leg may also feel weak and the foot may drag or you may be tripping as you walk. Pain will often start in the low back, but within a few days spread down the leg and this is a fairly common presentation we see in clinic. The severity of the pain will vary from person to person and can be mildly irritating, to totally debilitating.

There are several possible causes for sciatica, one of the most common being a disc bulge or herniation. These tend to commonly strike from mid to late 20’s to 40’s when the discs are more plump and prone to herniation.

What can you do to help?

As much as is possible, keep mobile, when the acute pain has subsided. Potter around. Keep changing postures. If you need to rest, lie down rather than sit. Use ice packs regularly until the acute phase has passed. Speak to an Osteopath for specific guidance for your individual issues and concerns.

What can an osteopath do to help?

An osteopath will talk to you about your specific problems and concerns and then assess you to establish the exact cause of your pain. Finding out the root cause of the problem, is the 1st step to recovery. If treatment is appropriate, they will then work to het the spine and muscles working better to ease the pain and reduce irritation around the nerve. They will also advise you on self-help measures for you to do at home to maintain progress. This could be exercises to do or lifestyle adaptations to make, specific to you.

Will my sciatica resolve with osteopathy?

Most of our patients do very well with treatment, if treatment is deemed to be appropriate for them. There are cases where osteopathy is not appropriate and this would be established at the initial appointment. Most clients would expect a reduction in pain and symptoms within a 6 week period with treatment.

What about preventing sciatica reoccurring?

Prevention is always a good aim with any back or sciatic issue, as is the case with all health concerns. Maintaining an ideal weight, taking regular exercise, eating a well-balanced healthy diet, keeping hydrated and optimising core strength and posture will help lessen the likelihood of sciatica striking. Your osteopath/therapist will be able to guide you with this. Maintenance treatments, to keep your muscles and joints working well, would also be beneficial.

Are there times when surgery is needed?

Yes there are times when surgery is required and this will be discussed with you by the osteopath. If you are in any doubt whether treatment is suitable for you or whether you may need further intervention, please talk to our team or your GP. The worst thing that you can do is simply ignore it.

For further information, please feel free to speak to our team on Worthing 01903 820206 www.worthingosteopathy.com