Physiotherapy to treat Sciatica

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by the compression of one or more of the lumbar nerve roots L3, L4, or L5 or sacral nerve roots S1, S2, or S3. All these small nerves together form the sciatic nerve. Compression of the sciatic nerve itself in the buttock area can also produce sciatica symptoms.

Treatment of Sciatica

Sciatica caused by compression of a nerve root can occur as a result of a spinal disc bulge or spinal disc herniation, or as a result of degenerated discs that can reduce the size of the space through which nerve roots exit the spine.

Disc buldge image - treatment of sciaticaPinched Spinal Nerve from Mk Physio

As the nerves are responsible for carrying sensory information as well as innervating the muscles for strength and movement, sciatica can have various symptoms. These include:

  • Pain in the back of the leg that is worse when sitting or straightening the knee
  • Burning or tingling or pins & needles down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Difficulty lifting up the foot while walking
  • A constant pain usually on one side of the buttock
  • A shooting pain in the lower back/ buttock/ leg that makes it difficult to stand up or take weight on the affected leg
  • Very sharp pain when coughing or sneezing
  • Pain is usually aggravated when twisting e.g. when trying to get out of the car

Image of a sciatic nerveSciatic pain

 Assessment involves diagnosing which of the nerves could be affected and whether the nerves are irritated from surrounding inflammation, compressed or irritated & compressed.

If the nerves are irritated, various types of pain may be felt in the back and down the leg, such as: burning, shooting or aching. If the nerves are compressed, then there may be weakness felt in part of the leg or foot.

During assessment, testing of muscle strength, back/leg mobility will help determine which nerve or nerves are involved. The physio can then come up with a plan of action of what to do in treatment to alleviate the symptoms and aid recovery.

Various treatment techniques such as: soft tissue release, spinal mobilisations, neural stretches, dry needling and strapping can be used in the treatment of sciatica.

If you have any symptoms regarding sciatica, please don’t hesitate to call 011 064 5670 or enquire online

Summary
Physiotherapy to treat Sciatica
Article Name
Physiotherapy to treat Sciatica
Description
Sciatica isn’t so much a diagnosis but rather a term used to describe possible symptoms associated with damage/compression/irritation of one or more of the nerve roots which form the sciatic nerve.
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