So I have felt compelled to write a short blog post on this overused term “sciatica” and how frustrating it is when patients have been told this is what they have. As a patient it gives you no information other than telling you that your sciatic nerve is inflamed (at some point along its very long journey!!). And it absolutely tells you nothing about why it got there, and therefore you are completely disempowered to be able to do anything about it.

Unless you know the cause of your pain or issue, you will never be able to fix it, and escape from your “diagnosis”.

Often when people come to me in acute debilitating pain, they have been given the diagnosis of sciatica, often with a prescription for some high strength painkillers or anti-inflammatories and told to rest. Obviously you don’t want to be running any marathons at this time, but gentle mobility, movement, walking is needed.


So, what is it?

Hayley our senior osteopath has written a nice succinct article on sciatica in one of our other blogs so do take a quick read of this. But sciatica is when the sciatic nerve becomes inflamed, compressed, pinched, irritated or annoyed at some point along its journey. It exits the spine right at the bottom in the lumbar and sacral area at the base of the spine, so can get irritated at its point of exit, or along its path, through the buttock and down the leg. However, unless we know why the nerve has become irritated we cannot get rid of it.

It is mostly caused by a change in load through the spine and pelvis, and often over a period of time, so the altered mechanics place pressure through the nerve or the spinal segments repetitively, and over time they become inflamed. Sometimes we are able to withstand quite a lot of compensation for a long time until a very small event tips us over the edge “the straw that broke the camel’s back”…. Something small like a sneeze, or something more significant like the growing bump through pregnancy.


So we look at how you move, how you walk, how your spine moves, how your feet bare load. We assess how you sit, work position, how you carry your children, breathing, exercising….. We look at the mechanical causes to the sciatic nerve becoming irritated so we can remove these and give you the information about your body, and why it happened, to give you the knowledge of what to do to prevent it coming back.


As osteopaths we use hands on treatment involving massage, stretching, articulations, mobilisations, acupuncture when needed/desired, and taping. We give you advice and exercises to do to prevent it coming back. Our aim is to empower you with the knowledge of your body, not just to get rid of the symptoms (although we do this too!!).


Spinal and pelvic assessment


We treat a lot of people at the acute “agonising” point of sciatica and can make huge differences within one appointment for many people who walk (or hobble/crawl) through our door. It really does work, and the NHS and NICE also support this.


Come see an osteopath here and get to the crux of your pain. You will learn about your body, and what to do to prevent it coming back. We are on your side, and we absolutely love what we do.

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