Sciatica Pain Treatment

By Roger Morelli
Brisbane Myotherapist and Remedial Massage Therapist

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition involving pain and discomfort of the back, buttocks and legs.

Sciatica pain is when sensory discomfort travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. The Sciatic nerve starts in your lower spine (L4/5 S/1), and travels through the hips and glutes and down the back of the leg to the foot.

Sciatica is usually caused by:

  • Irritation or pinching of the sciatic nerve – a common muscle entrapment is called Piriformis syndrome.
  • Lumbar Disc Bulges provoking the nerve roots (L4/5 and S/1)
  • Injury to the leg.
  • Joint Injury
  • spinal stenosis (shrinking of the compartment of the spinal cord)
  • spondylolisthesis (an abnormally forward vertebra – common in gymnasts)
  • sacroiliac dysfunction

Piriformis syndrome is a type of Sciatica that occurs when the Sciatic nerve is compressed by a small muscle in the hip called the piriformis.  This is a common form of Sciatica and usually responds well to Sciatica pain treatments such as Myotherapy and Remedial Massage.

 Pressure from a herniated disc on the sciatic nerve or its nerve roots is a common cause of sciatica.

Joint inflammation, nerve compression from bony growths or a locked facet joint in the lower back are common sciatic irritants.

Who gets Sciatica?

People aged between 30 and 50 are the demographic Sciatica most commonly affects.  people who sit a lot are statistically more likely to experience disc damage and sciatica pain.  High body mass is a risk factor.  People often Google “sciatica from driving”.

What are the Symptoms of Sciatica?

A “Sciatica Attack” causes pain and tingling that spreads from the lower back down the buttock, hamstring, calf and sometimes the foot. Sciatic pain has significant variance.  Symptoms are often described as burning, dull, nervy, shooting or aching,

Tingling, numbness and weakness are common sciatica pain presentations. It’s important to consult with a clinician if you experience these symptoms as prolonged irritation can damage nerves and their function.

Sciatica Symptoms:

  • Gluteal pain that is aggravated by sitting
  • Shooting pain when transitioning from sitting to standing.
  • Numbness, weakness, or difficulty controlling the leg or foot
  • Burning, tingling or other nervy sensation in the leg
  • Relentless calf pain – usually on the side or rear

How do you diagnose Sciatica?

Your Myotherapist will perform a full assessment and utilise special tests after a thorough interview to establish the cause of your discomfort.

Sciatica is easy to diagnose, but sometimes the cause of the episode may need to be investigated with scans such as MRI or X-ray.

The majority of sciatica attacks resolve through conservative treatments such as Myotherapy.

What are the best Sciatica pain treatments?

In Brisbane your Myotherapist can use many techniques, such as Low Level Laser Therapy, Electro needling, Nerve Glides, Myofascial release, Joint mobilisations, Corrective Exercises and explaining how to not aggravate your sciatica pain.  To ensure that your Sciatica doesn’t come back your Myotherapist will teach you the best exercises you are able to perform and provide a plan to improve your capacity.

Links

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sciatica

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sciatica

https://www.painmanagement.org.au/2014-09-11-13-34-03/2014-09-11-13-35-16/127-sciatica.html

References

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/50/4/237.short

https://www.physiotherapyjournal.com/article/S0031-9406(18)30408-5/abstract

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2015/01000/Piriformis_Syndrome__A_Cause_of_Nondiscogenic.12.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4747321/

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/aca7/05975dc41be36e2e2e2c684d7af7c69c88c4.pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1011134416304456

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/term.1714