Did you know that the longest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spinal cord in the lower back down the leg to the foot? Sciatica refers to nerve pain that radiates from the lower back to the buttock and down the leg. This problem usually affects only one side of the body. If you are dealing with sciatica it can make it difficult to sit or stand without pain. Luckily, an osteopath can help you get your sciatica under control.
What causes sciatica?
Several conditions could be to blame for sciatica including,
- A herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Traumatic injury to the sciatic nerve or lower spine
- Piriformis syndrome
What are the risk factors for sciatica?
Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing sciatica. They include,
- Normal aging
- Being overweight or obese
- Previous back or spinal injuries
- Weak core muscles
- Having a labor-intensive job
- Poor posture
- Improper lifting (especially when weight training)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being pregnant
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Since the sciatic nerve starts at the lower back and extends down to the foot the most common symptoms of sciatica include,
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Pain in the back of the leg that intensifies when seated
- A throbbing or shooting pain on one side
- “Pins and needles” in the legs, toes, and feet
- Burning or tingling of the leg
- Weakness or numbness in the leg or foot
While it is possible for sciatica to affect both sides of the body, it usually affects one side. Since the sciatic nerve also connects to the foot, you may also experience these symptoms in your feet or even your toes.
How can an osteopath help?
An osteopath has extensive training to be able to provide non-invasive spinal manipulation and other techniques and yes, they can help with treating painful sciatica. The goal of an osteopath is to restore full function into the body by focusing on the body as a whole.
We will focus on taking pressure off the sciatic nerve through soft tissue manipulation and mobilization techniques. Along with providing non-invasive treatments to ease sciatica symptoms we will also try and pinpoint the cause to help you prevent this problem from occurring in the future.
If you are dealing with back, hip, or leg pain and you’re wondering if it’s sciatica, an osteopath can provide you with the answers you need and treatments to restore mobility while reducing pain and swelling.