ESO Clinic Blog – Sciatica Explained
The term ‘Sciatica’ is commonly used for any pain going into one or both legs. Strictly speaking it describes symptoms involving the ‘sciatic nerve’, one of the largest and longest nerves in the body, hence its pathway into the leg and sometimes foot. Symptoms range from a dull ache and mild tingling, to a sharp radiating pain often described as like toothache. It can be a debilitating condition and its severity and longevity may be determined by the cause of the nerve irritation or compression, which can be many. This nerve may be swollen due to being pinched or irritated by tight muscles, bulging discs and bony changes in the lower spine due to osteoarthritis. Many people are prone to this occurring and reoccurring dependent on their body type, occupation, hobbies, and age. It mostly affects those between the ages of 30 and 60.
Osteopaths, as Allied Health professionals and musculo-skeletal experts are trained to fully assess patients with these conditions. A thorough case history and physical examination will help diagnose a likely cause. Often sciatic symptoms resolve within a 4-6-week period however if not addressed these symptoms may linger, worsening and prolonging the problem. Once diagnosed osteopaths will discuss a management plan with the patient. This may involve treatment, such as soft tissue release techniques, gentle mobilisation of key areas of the spine and pelvis plus advice about home exercises and activities to attempt and those to avoid. In some cases, the practitioner may feel that a referral to the GP or other healthcare professional is required, either for further evaluation, medication or for imaging such as MRI.
1. Low back pain and Sciatica: summary of NICE guidance – BMY 2017;356:i6748
Bernstein, A; Malik, Q; Carville, S; Ward, S.
Condensed from a blog created by Robert Thomas, Osteopath and ESO Clinic Tutor. To read the blog in full please click here. To arrange an osteopathic consultation at the ESO Clinic Maidstone call 01622 685989.