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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What does sciatica pain feel like?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 10


    Dr Victor Wilk

    Medical Practitioner

    Victor Wilk is a Musculoskeletal Physician and Medical Director of Brighton Spine & Sports Clinic with over 20 years experience in treating muscle, joint and … View Profile

    Sciatica pain is typically a sharp shooting pain radiating from the lower back, through the buttock and down the leg to the foot.   The pain is usually tingling , electric, shooting, or lancinating in quality.  Less commmonly burning or like deep pressure.  Sciatic pain may be accompanied by loss of nerve function resulting in numbness of the skin in the lower leg or weakness of certain muscle groups. 

  • 2


    Dr Ryan Hislop


    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Orange Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    One of the best descriptions a patient has given me is “it's like someone has rammed a long hot needle up through my foot and into my leg that has electrodes attached to it”.

  • 5


    Sandra McFaul


    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    As Dr Wilk described, the pain radiates down into the leg and into the foot.  There may be associated neurological symtpoms such as pins and needles, numbness in certain areas and weakness in certain muscle groups.  The location of the neurological symtpoms depends on the nerve that is being compromised.  The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging disc. 

    McKenzie Physiotherapists aim to find one key exercise that will help to reduce the leg pain and have the pain return to the centre of the back.  This process is called centralistaion and is a good sign that you are doing the correcct exercise and there is a hgh chance that will recover quickly. 

  • 2


    Dr Andrew Lim


    Andrew has a Masters in Chiropractic and his interest in Sports Chiropractic has led him to treat many athletes from junior to elite levels in … View Profile

    Pain originating from the sciatic nerve can vary from individual to individual, depending on the casue of the pain. Some patients report a sharp, electrical pain down the back of the leg, where others describe a ‘toothache’ in the back of the leg.
    True Sciatic pain will run down the course of the sciatic nerve (down the back of the leg) often into the calf and bottom of the foot.
    More often than not, Sciatic pain can be reproduced by a Straight Leg Raise (SLR) test, where the practitioner, elevates the patient's straight leg until the pain is elicted. In a normal test, the patient's leg should reach 90 degrees, anything less than 60 degrees can be considered a positive test for sciatic nerve involvement.

  • 3


    Ann Zhu

    Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner, Massage Therapist

    Bachelor and Masters degrees, and 20+ years of clinical experience. I practised acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and remedial massage in medical centers in Melbourne and … View Profile

    According to Chinese medicine, sciatic pain is one of “Bi syndrome”. There are four different type of sciatic pain. 1) shooting pain from buttock down to one side of the leg and last only few seconds; 2) severe continuous sharp pain on fixed locations of one side of the leg and can be relieved by heat pack; 3) dull aching along one side of leg, some patients describe like toothache, accompany with heavy legs and numbness; 4) aching and slightly swelling on one leg, can be relieved by ice pack and dislike pressure on painful area.
    Acupuncture can treat both acute and chronic sciatc pain sucessfully.

  • 3


    Jonathan Harris


    Jonathan Harris is a Titled Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist having achieved Master Degrees in both fields. As well as his undergraduate Physiotherapy degree he also … View Profile

    Sciatic pain is any sensation that is referred into the leg that has the lower back nerve tissue as its source.  The sensations can be as varied as electric shock type sensation to a vague ache or fuzzy feeling in the leg.  They can be intermittent or constant.  The sensation does not have to travel all the way down the leg but it can.  If you are concerned it would be a good idea to see your local practitioner to get a diagnosis.  IF you are correctly diagnosed, you can better target treatment and get rid of symptoms.  Good luck,

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