Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica is nerve pain which travels down the Sciatic Nerve, through the buttocks and legs. It may also be associated with ‘pins and needles’ or even numbness, which usually starts in the big toe and works up the back of the leg.

Normally caused by a bulging or slipped disc putting pressure on the Sciatic Nerve, it can be agonising.

Sciatica can be highly variable, sometimes giving an ache after activity, or so painful that sufferers are unable to stand and need painkillers to help control the pain.

Sciatic pain may also result from a condition known as Pyriformis Syndrome. This may occur as the sciatic nerve runs close to the pyriformis muscle, located deep in the buttock, which may spasm due to a number of reasons and can lead to a trapped nerve.

This condition mimics the symptoms of a slipped disc almost completely but is usually much easier to correct and responds well to osteopathic treatment.

It is very important that any pain radiating into the limb is checked quickly (usually within 72 hours of onset) – no matter how minor. Fast intervention can often prevent more serious and painful conditions from developing, as well as long-lasting damage, especially to the sciatic nerve. Likewise, any pain radiating into the leg or from ‘pins and needles’ in the foot that lasts longer than a few days can be an early sign of a discal problem, and swift treatment may prevent a serious and painful full herniation.

Sciatica Treatment

If you’re suffering from Sciatica or Sciatic Symptoms, it’s important to receive a skilled assessment and diagnosis by an experienced Osteopath. The treatment that you will receive depends on the length of time that you have been suffering with Sciatica.

home-img-icon You have had Sciatica Symptoms for less than 3 months

If caught within the first 6 weeks – and your condition is not too severe – Osteopathic treatment can be very effective. Our Osteopaths are skilled at finding the mechanical reasons responsible for your Sciatica and use effective, gentle treatments to correct these stresses. However it does take some time and often requires between 6-8 treatments to begin to get rid of the nerve pain – and longer to allow you to be able to begin to stress the disc again. But it is perfectly possible to allow the disc to heal without the need for surgery or epidural injection.

There is evidence to support the fact that osteopathic treatment for Sciatica can help with Sciatic Pain* and clinical experience shows that about 40-60% of all cases will respond very well to osteopathic treatment and rehabilitative exercise.

Medication prescribed by your GP can often help with the pain, but can have quite nasty side effects and can be addictive. Also, medication does not get to the cause of the entrapment, meaning that it may take several months for the entrapment to pass.

*Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010, 18:3 doi:10.1186/1746-1340-18-3

home-img-icon You have had Sciatica Symptoms for more than 3 months

If your Sciatica Symptoms have persisted for more than 3 to 6 months it is unlikely that osteopathy will be able to help, especially if you have already tried this or some other form of manual therapy. Surgery is not often advised and less than 5% of all disc problems are operated on.

Your GP will probably refer you for a steroid injection for which you may have to wait quite a long time. In addition, steroid injections do not address the disc condition but just bathe the region with a strong anti-inflammatory to help with the nerve pain. The pain often returns, but if it stays away for 3 months it is less likely to. However, the underlying problem still remains and without some form of rehabilitation there is a large risk of recurrence.

For cases such as these, we would recommend using IDD Therapy Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression with which we have had great success treating cases of Sciatica that have not responded to other forms of treatment.

Book a consultation today and get started on the road to your recovery.

Call us on 01273 725667.