Sciatica is pain (and pins and needles) in the leg. Sciatica occurs due to compression of portions of the sciatic nerve which begins at the base of your spine.
Often there are 'warning' signs prior to an episode of sciatica; these include:
- tight or achy back for days/weeks prior to the sciatica
- increased tension in the buttock or hamstring
- very occasional twinges of pain or tightness in the thigh and/ or calf
- difficulty or stiffness following sitting for an extended period (>30 minutes
Thus, the first stage of treating sciatica is to ackowledge and do something about these warning signs!! Visit a physiotherapist/ osetopath/ myotherapist sooner rather than later!As sciatica (and low back pain) has a history of being a recurrent problem
, understanding how your spine moves and completion of regular physical activity is very important.
Often restrictions in the lumbar spine
slowly compress the sciatic nerve as it exits from the spine. So treatment should almost always include stretches for your back which are specific to you (that is the same stretch doesn't work for everyone!) So everyone needs an individual assessment from a trained health professional - if symptoms have not improved in 3-4 sessions, a second opinion is warranted. A good reference is treat your own back by Robin McKenzie.
From a McKenzie physiotherapist point of view, a few features are important in treating sciatica:
- EDUCATION about how your spine works
- Spinal assessment for discovering what restrictions in the lumbar spine exist
- Performance of a specific spinal stretching exercise which reduces symptoms and improves spinal movements
- Assessment and management of sitting posture
- Development of a trunk/ core stability exercise program
- When the sciatica is resolved, continued performance of spinal stretching to help prevent a another episode of sciatica!
This is one method for managing sciatica. Other methods for managing sciatica include medication from your GP, soft tissue massage amongst other.
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