The sciatic nerve runs from the lower part of the spine, through the buttock and then courses down the back of the leg, usually towards the outer side of the leg. Sciatica comes specifically from the irritation of this nerve and then pain experienced is quite unique, like a deep ache or sometimes electric rather than a usual muscular pain.
So is it really Sciatica? Not all pain down your leg is caused by Sciatica - in the same way that many people with a bad headache will call it a migraine, most pain extending down leg is described as sciatica so it is commonly over-diagnosed. See our page on Trochanteric pain.
Other less well known causes of buttock and leg pain are sacroiliac problems, impingement of other nerves, such as the femoral nerve (front thigh pain) and obturator nerve (inside of the thigh), hip problems or knee problems.
Proper diagnosis is paramount. This is where a good Osteopath will excel - call 01270 759 491 to book an appointment with one of our friendly experienced team.
What causes Sciatica? Compression of the sciatic nerve due to muscular tightness of the buttocks, a protruding or herniated intervertebral disc in the lower back or irritation of the nerve due to inflammation in the area can all cause sciatica. Pregnancy is also a common cause due to the postural changes and increased pressures applied to the lower back and buttock muscles.
How can your Osteopath help? After taking a thorough medical history and examination, your Osteopath will be able to advise you on the most likely underlying cause and tailor the treatment to each individual case. Treatment may include massage, rhythmical mobilisation of the joints to relieve tension or gentle manipulations to loosen joint and you may hear a "click". Treatment may also involve treating other areas in the body such as the hips.
Your Osteopath may also offer advice of your lifestyle, posture, diet and exercise or give you specific exercises.
In more chronic cases, stenosis (narrowing) of the bony canal where the sciatic nerve leaves the spine can be the underlying cause of the nerve entrapment and in these cases surgery can be the best option to remove the excess bony formation and stop the nerve being pinched. Your Osteopath will be able to advise you on the best course of action if they suspect this and refer you to your GP, specialist or for further imaging such as x-rays or MRI if required.
Don’t put up with sciatica! For further information about this or any other general aches, pains, orthopaedic or musculoskeletal problems, arrange a consultation with our friendly, experienced team at Sandbach Osteopathic and Sports Injury Clinic on 01270 759 491.