Managing Sciatica with Osteopathy – The possibilities
Sciatica is one of the most common conditions, that people encounter today. About 40-60% of people are affected by Sciatica during their life period and is very frequent as age advances. Stop fighting sciatica silently, seek our help and find quick relief for pain!!!
What is Sciatica
Any irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve (the longest nerve of the body), usually occurring on pressure to the nerve is referred to as Sciatica. Pain is caused that usually radiates from the lower back, and travels down to the leg, to the calf. In cases, it can extend to the feet and toes. It usually affects one side of the lower part of the body.
Sciatic nerve course: originates in the spine. Runs from the back of the pelvis, through the buttocks, down the legs, and ending at the feet.
Thus, any pain of the leg, whatever the cause may be, is however described as Sciatica. Pain can be mild to excruciating type. Recurrence of the condition may occur and may get severe at times, causing numbness and weakness of muscles.
What causes Sciatica to occur
Common causes of sciatica include:
- Any pressure on the sciatic nerve
- Disc prolapse or slipped disc
- Inflammation of joints causing swelling around the sciatic nerve
- Bony spur due to arthritis
- Herniation or Intervertebral disc bulge
- Bony spur due to osteoarthritis
- Tension in the piriformis muscle
- Pressure caused due to bulging disc
- Changes of the spine, mostly due to osteoarthritis
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces or the nerve passage within the spine)
- Growth within the spine, a tumor
- Wearing high heels
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of exercise
What are the symptoms of Sciatica?
Following are the symptoms of Sciatica:
- Shooting pain, on the back of legs, which may go to the ankle
- Referred pain, over the groin or the side of the leg
- Restricted movement of foot or leg
- Pain over buttocks, calf, and hamstring
- Lower Back Ache
- Burning sensation over legs
- Tingling sensation over legs
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of reflexes of tendon
Symptoms may get exacerbated on:
- Standing or sitting for a long time
- Coughing or sneezing
- Backward bending
- On other impulses like laughing
Usually, Sciatica pain may subside by itself within few weeks. But if persistent pain occurs, the patient may also experience the following symptoms in addition to pain over the back and leg region:
- Excruciating pain causing discomfort that can not be managed by self
- Loss of bowel control
- Weight loss
- Loss of bladder control
- Weakness and numbness of leg and foot
How does Osteopathy help with sciatica?
It is very important to consult a qualified practitioner if struggling with Sciatica. Osteopathy and Osteopaths can help you and enhance speedy recovery, adopt methods to tackle the condition, and preventing future recurrence of sciatica. Osteopaths are highly skilled in finding out the cause, making proper diagnoses, and treatment plans are made on an individual basis. Osteopathy aims to reduce the symptoms and pain, by relieving the pressure from the sciatic nerve by identifying the cause of sciatic pain, bring you back to normal life, and improve your quality of life.
Firstly, an accurate case history of the patient (to understand an illness, injury, stress, repetitive stress, surgery on or that affects the hips or spine, and previous reports and medical tests) and would be taken. After considering the symptoms and diagnosis, treatment would be started effectively. Osteopathic treatments include safe and gentle massages and manipulation to improve mobilization and reducing symptoms. Hips, legs, back are tested and ideas regarding sensation, flexibility, strength, and reflexes are made. Techniques used can be tolerated by the patient. Pain experienced is balanced by the patient, by bringing them to a balance point to avoid severe pain. Loosening of buttock muscles and piriformis is carried out, and also the muscles of the lower back. The patient feels comfortable during the treatment process, as only very little movement of the lower back is required during the entire treatment. Techniques used by Osteopaths include:
- Mobilization of joints -Improvement of Range of Movement and free the compression of nerves, thereby reducing pain over the leg and lower back
- Soft tissue massage -spasm of muscles reduced and blood flow enhance
- Exercises and postural advice -possibility of recurrence is reduced.
A thorough examination is carried out to find out the area of tenderness and tension, and if the muscles and joints are working well. This helps understand the muscles or joints involved and steps to correct the misalignment of the spine if any. A close look at other areas of the body is done, whether causing an impact on spinal dysfunction or not, working of the pelvis, leg, etc with the spine.
Osteopaths carry out many physical examinations to test:
- Muscle strength
- The sensation of lower limb
- SLR (Straight Leg Raise) test
- Gait, the walking manner
- Walking ability
Certain other tests are also done by Osteopath which includes: X-ray, CT, MRI, blood tests ( to rule out infections)
Other areas of the body are also given equal emphasis by an Osteopath while treating Sciatica., as many compensatory problems may occur on the spine. Osteopathic techniques can calm down the effects of persistent pain by reducing pressure on the nerves, reducing the referred pain, providing relaxation to muscles by their gentle techniques.
Advice on exercises is also made. Our Osteopathic specialists will let you do exercises that are not strenuous and are gentle (eg: swimming). Sciatica stretches can be practised in the case of chronic sciatica, but only under expert Osteopathic supervision.
Advice on prevention of Sciatica
As a part of treatment, many other things are done post therapy that manages the pain, reduce repetitive stress, and helps to prevent a recurrence, which includes:
- Exercises that improve flexibility
- Stretching (before and after doing exercises)
- Heat packs
- Postural guidance (the way someone might sit at work)
- Medicinal supplements
- Techniques for lifting the weight (at work)
Schedule your appointment
Struggling with sciatica, Richard’s Osteopathy is the best place for you. We have Osteopaths who have years of clinical experience, in managing Sciatica. We help you manage your Sciatic complaint, speak to us, book your appointment and see our Osteopath!!!