March 2019 Newsletter
In this month’s edition we delve into the very common condition called sciatica. The statistics point to around 40% of the UK having experienced some form of sciatica but the likelihood is that this number is greater with many sufferers not seeking help and treatment.
What is Sciatica?
What is sciatica? Typically, it is pain, numbness or pins and needles in the distribution of the sciatic nerve usually affecting one side of the lower back/leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body travelling from your lower back right down to the foot. Pain can range from a dull ache with tingling right up to excruciating nerve pain.
This can mean some or all the following areas might be affected:
• Lower Back
• Buttock Muscle
• Outer Hip
• Back of the Thigh
• Outer back of the Calf
• Sole of the Foot
Sciatica can potentially be very debilitating or episodic with minor symptoms. The most important thing is to quickly determine the cause of the sciatica. This is where your Osteopath with their diagnostic skills can really help.
Your Osteopath will assess you standing, sitting and lying down and may do various tests to help differentially diagnose the source of the pain. The outcome of this will affect the future treatment plan and outlook for recovery.
Serious conditions causing sciatica might be narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis) or spondylolisthesis (forward movement within the vertebral column itself). These are rare to find but if your Osteopath feels there may be a chance of this then they may refer you for an MRI scan. This may not actually change the treatment plan they decide on, but it will alter the advice given on how to manage the problem. Should you ever have sciatica in both legs, with any changes to your bladder or bowel function then you should go directly to A&E as this is not sciatica but potentially a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome.
However, for most of the population, common causes of sciatica are back muscle spasm, joint inflammation, lumbar disc problems and/or degenerative changes within the spine.
As Osteopaths, we treat this problem frequently and so will be able to tailor the treatment to your body after ascertaining the cause of the sciatica.
With sciatica your Osteopath will physically treat the problem, but rehabilitation is also very key to aid recovery and prevention. At Kingston & Teddington Osteopathy we always give exercises that may be of help and can advise if there needs to be medication or referral for an MRI scan.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for any reason, we are here to help and welcome any feedback. Click here for more information.