SCIATICA is the term given to pain running down the back of the buttock and leg, in the areas supplied by the SCIATIC NERVE.
The nerve itself is made up of several nerve roots that come from Spinal Cord in the lower back (Lumbar Spine). It supplies the muscles that move the buttock, back of the thigh, calf, shin and foot, and the skin that covers them. (The Femoral nerve supplies the muscle and skin on the front of the thigh).
What causes sciatica?
The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging or ruptured disc in the spine pressing against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. However, sciatica also can be caused by the nerve tissue being compressed or irritated by very stiff spinal joints, bone spurs (small, bony growths that form along joints) caused by wear and tear arthritis, or even narrowing of the spinal canal (a condition called Spinal Stenosis). Occasionally, the sciatic nerve can be irritated by excess muscle tone deep in the buttock, PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME (pseudo-sciatica). In rare cases, sciatica can also be caused by conditions that do not involve the spine, such as tumors or pregnancy.
What symptoms do you get?
Usually pain, but also tingling and numbness can occur, either constantly or intermittently. You may also experience muscle weakness in the affected leg.
Our Physiotherapists use a thorough physical examination to determine the cause of the pain, and decide where the nerve irritation is occurring. (Areas of sensation change or muscle weakness in the leg help us to work our which nerves are affected)
Treatment plans are drawn up together with the patient to relieve pain, promote relaxation and restore movement. The treatments offered will vary, depending on the cause of your pain, and may include joint and soft tissue manipulation or mobilisation, traction, electro-therapies and remedial exercises.
There are many types of exercise; we use them to maintain or restore movement and muscle control, to correct posture and improve lifting technique.
We use clinic based treatments to promote recovery, but we are also committed to giving patients confidence & freedom to augment that treatment with home exercises whenever possible: our aim is to teach and educate as much as possible.
We will monitor your progress and progress the treatments as your body responds.
Patients with chronic or recurrent back problems often need to re-establish good CORE STABILITY by retraining muscles; Dynamic Ultrasound scanning enables us to see muscle activity levels as they occur, and gives our patients great encouragement in the form of visual feedback.