Osteopathy For Treatment of Sciatica
Sciatica is a very common complaint that many of our patients at East Sussex Osteopaths receive successful treatment for. Chantal Prince, Principal Osteopath at ESO explains more about sciatica and how Osteopathy can help your body to heal.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a medical condition that occurs when your sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg, becomes irritated or compressed causing pain. This can cause a range of symptoms, typically affecting only one side of your body.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Your bottom, back of your leg, foot and toes may feel:
- Stabbing, burning or shooting pain
- Tingling, pins and needles or aching
- Your symptoms may be worse when moving, sneezing or coughing.
- You may also have back or hip pain, but it’s not usually as bad as the pain in your bottom, leg or foot.
- Symptoms usually subside with treatment in 4 to 6 weeks, but can last longer.
Causes of sciatica
In adolescents and adults, sciatica is generally the consequence of inflammation or pressure from a bulging disc or tight pelvic muscles. In the elderly, boney changes within the spine such as osteoarthritis is more commonly the underlying cause. There can however, be aggravating factors in every case, which you can try to avoid. These include:
- Wearing heels
- Inactivity and not exercising regularly
- Being overweight
What to expect during your Osteopathic consultation and treatment
Your Osteopath will carry out a detailed examination, including how well your neurological system is working. Once your Osteopath has diagnosed the root cause of your sciatica, they will design your treatment and management plan to bring you continued relief and freedom from your symptoms. Your initial consultation will last 45-60 minutes, and subsequent treatments 30 minutes.
How to manage sciatica at home
- Avoid sitting still for extended amounts of time
- Carry on with your normal activities as much as possible
- Follow stretches for sciatica from our video page as prescribed by your Osteopath
- Start gentle stretches as soon as you can
- Use a heat pack on the painful area if it is a muscle but an ice pack if the pain is near a joint
- Put a cushion between your knees when sleeping on your side, or firm pillows under your knees if lying on your back
- Avoid using hot water bottles to ease the pain – you may scald yourself if your skin is numb
To reduce the chances of getting sciatica again:
- Stay active
- Use a safe technique when lifting heavy objects
- Make sure you have a good posture when sitting and standing
- Sit correctly when using a computer – contact Chantal for an ergonomics assessment of your desk setup
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Smoking can increase your risk of getting sciatica
If you think you might be suffering with sciatica, it’s important to see your Osteopath for a professional diagnosis.