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If you’re struggling with new leg and back pain, you could be suffering from Sciatica.

It can be so excruciating and debilitating it can be hard to do anything at all – as anyone who’s had it will testify. So it’s no surprise that it’s the most searched-for Physio-related condition in the world. If you think you could be suffering from it, we’re here to help.

So what exactly is Sciatica?

So what exactly is Sciatica?

Usually only appearing on one side of your body, Sciatica is a mild to severe pain anywhere along the path that the sciatic nerve supplies – this is, anywhere from your lower back, through the hips, buttocks and/or down your legs. Some clients describe the pain as a sharp, shooting pain, whilst others describe it as a burning or stabbing pain. You may also experience numbness or weakness in your lower back, buttock, leg or feet, and pain that worsens with movement and loss of movement – making it extremely debilitating. 

Causes & Symptoms

What Causes Sciatica?

From a medical perspective, it is caused by irritation occurring to or near the L4, L5 or S1 nerve as it exits the spine. If that irritation involves a direct compression of the nerve, it’s termed a ‘radiculopathy’. In ‘old money’, people talk about slipped discs and trapped nerves. However, we avoid using this kind of language as it is misleading about what occurs in the spine to cause pain. In most cases, a specific event or an accumulation of stress over time results in pressure being exerted on the spine – as a result, instead of being absorbed or transferred elsewhere by nearby muscles, it hits the spine. This can result in small tears to the disc, possibly causing a bulge. 

The body’s reaction to these tears triggers a fairly hefty neuro-immune response with lots of chemicals flooding the area, which upset the nerve. As a result, the nerve gets sensitised, resulting in pain…and lots of it, as any sufferer of Sciatica will know! This pain can be anywhere on the ‘map’ that the nerve supplies – either back, buttock, leg, foot or a mixture of these.



What Can Help Ease Sciatica?
Relief & Treatments

What Can Help Ease Sciatica?

In most cases, it is horrible but will get better; it generally takes weeks, with the consensus being about 6-12 weeks. So if you suffer with Sciatica, what can you do about it?

  • Painkillers are a definite “yes!”
  • Keeping as mobile as your pain allows you to be is a must
  • Letting yourself rest when you need to
  • Physiotherapy – finding exercises to help reduce pressure, maintain movement, pain relieving techniques – acupuncture, ‘TENS’ machine use
  • Physiotherapy to rehabilitate after a period of reduced mobility and de-conditioning to prevent a recurrence
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Sciatica Physio

Does Physio for Sciatica Help?

Physiotherapy is seen as a necessary treatment for Sciatica as very few people with the condition ever need to be scanned or see a surgeon. In fact, Physios are very good at assessing which cases do and don’t require hospital treatment.

As most people make a good recovery with Physiotherapy, it is a sensible option for shortening the time you could be in pain. This type of proactive behaviour has a positive impact, i.e. getting you out of pain as quickly as possible and helping you to get moving within a safe and reassuring treatment programme. 

Physio rehab brings the added benefit of significantly reducing the likelihood of symptoms recurring, particularly where a regular exercise programme is followed either independently or at one of our in-clinic classes. It is common for patients to say, “I’ve got a bad back/had sciatica, so I’m cautious with bending”, or “I avoid bending now”. This strategy may be good in the short term for avoiding pain, but it also predisposes people to recurrent episodes of their problems in the longer term. What you don’t use, you lose! Movements like bending happen more often than we think, so de-conditioning can mean these activities are more likely to trigger a reaction next time. That can set off a vicious cycle of deterioration.



Our Sciatica & Physio Advice
We Can Help

Our Sciatica & Physio Advice

We know Sciatica is awful, but it does get better over time. If managed with painkillers, appropriate activity and Physiotherapy, it can get better far quicker, and you will reduce your chances of it coming back! These ‘injuries’ to backs/discs are pretty common, with most of us having little tears in them without even knowing about it. The better your mobility, strength and stability, the less pain you’ll experience.

So if you’re struggling with Sciatica pain, get in touch; we can help! Call us if you want to chat with someone, book in (656340), or click here to book an appointment online.

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