Sciatica in London

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a common condition defined as when a nerve (the sciatic nerve), which runs from your lower back down to your feet becomes trapped and irritated which can cause a range of symptoms until you obtain some form of treatment. Common symptoms of sciatica include pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the back, feet or legs and vary from mild to severe. The lower back pain is often exacerbated when coughing or sneezing and pain in the buttocks, hamstrings or calves are worsened by sitting. Sciatica is a defined medical term but is often used in non-medical settings as a generic term to cover pain or symptoms of the leg. 

There are many different causes of sciatica so the pain you are experiencing may be a temporary flare up following an injury or a type of pain that develops gradually over a long period of time for example from a slipped herniated disc. Other causes of sciatica include degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, pregnancy and muscle spasms that occur in the buttocks or the back. It can also be aggravated by being inactive, not exercising regularly, being overweight and wearing high heels. It is possible to recover from acute short term cases of sciatica with osteopathy treatment, however, some long term cases of sciatica may not be able to fully heal, however, osteopathy treatment can at least help to reduce the amount of pain you are experiencing. 
 

How does osteopathy help? 

Osteopathy is a system of diagnosing and treating medical conditions that focus on the structure and the functioning of the whole body. It’s based on the idea that your overall health and wellbeing depend on your musclo-skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and soft connective tissues) all working together coherently and inter-related rather than addressing a specific illness or symptom. Osteopaths are trained professionals who focus on detecting, treating and preventing health problems mainly by using joint movement, mobilisation, stretching and massage. 

Many people choose osteopathy because the treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine. Part of the treatment can be to offer management strategies for your condition and advice to prevent your problems from returning. There are a number of things you can do to help yourself at home and so your osteopathy appointment may also involve teaching you about posture, movement habits especially to keep the back flexible, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises and using techniques such as hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs) with the aim to minimize recurrence. Staying in one position should generally be avoided with sciatica so it’s best to continue with normal gentle movements to help with a speedier recovery despite the discomfort those with sciatica experience. 

What will happen during the appointment?

During your initial consultation we will take time to discuss your case history, how sciatica is affecting your life, how long you’ve had it and look at your lifestyle as well as conducting a thorough physical examination analysing your structure to ensure an accurate diagnosis as well as identifying the cause of your sciatica. Our osteopathic treatment and management plans are personalised and tailored to the individual. The key treatment aims to relieve pressure off the irritated sciatic nerve alongside a variety of techniques including simple soft tissue massage, articulation, stretching, traction, pressure techniques, mobilisation techniques and gentle manipulation where appropriate. The treatment aims to eradicate pain from the area, restore normal function, improve the range of motion in the area, return full strength and help the body to heal naturally to resolve the problem. Your osteopath will also address any other problems such as elbow, neck, leg or upper back pain.

If you are experiencing sciatica then please book in to see us for advice, exercise prescription and osteopathic treatment.

If you think you might suffer from sciatica and would like help please do not hesitate to contact us.