At the Osteopathic Health Centre Chester we can help you recover from a host of conditions including; low back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, arthritis and muscle spasms.

We are conveniently placed for visitors coming to us from all parts of; Cheshire, Wirral, Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales, Chester, Christleton, Tattenhall, Tarporley, Malpas, Kelsall, Helsby, Frodsham, Hawarden, Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port, Queensferry, Hawarden, Flint, Wrexham.

Sciatica

 

Sciatica is such a common complaint that most people know it refers to leg pain coming from the back. The term “sciatica” is more a description of symptoms rather than an actual diagnosis because it does not tell us the reason why this pain is happening. When a patient consults us at the Osteopathic Health Centre with a case of “sciatica” this only gives us an idea where it hurts not why.  There are a number of different conditions which can cause pain in the sciatic nerve and establishing the reason why the nerve is irritated  is essential to enable us to figure out the best way to treat it.

 

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica describes pain felt along the course of the sciatica nerve.  The sciatic nerve is made up of five nerve roots that leave the spinal column through small foramen (tunnels) in the lumbar spine.  These nerve roots join together in the pelvis to form the sciatic nerve.  The nerve runs through the buttock, down the back of the leg to supply the muscles and joints of the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot and toes.  The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and can be irritated anywhere along its course. Because of this the symptoms can vary and it is not surprising that sciatica sufferers experience pain at several locations along the nerve path.

 

Sciatica Symptoms

For some people the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating for others, it might be infrequent and irritating.  Usually sciatica only affects one leg.  The pain can begin in the low back, spread down the back of the thigh, down through the leg and may radiate into the foot and toes.

 Sciatica may cause

  • Nerve sensations such as aching  pain, sharp shooting pains down the leg (making it difficult to stand up), pins and needles or numbness.
  • Weakness or difficulty moving the leg or foot.
  • Low back pain may be present along with the leg pain.


 

What causes sciatica

  • Inflammation of the nerve.
  • Disc herniation causing compression of the nerve root.
  • Degenerative changes in the lumbar spine.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).
  • Spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra on another).
  • Facet joint dysfunction.
  • Piriformis syndrome due to a muscle spasm in the buttock.


 

How will osteopathy help?

At the Osteopathic Health Centre we will review your symptoms and medical history. An examination including spinal mobility, muscle power testing and reflexes will be performed.  Most sciatic symptoms are caused by a combination of pressure and inflammation on the nerve root.  Osteopathic treatment is centred on relieving both these factors using gentle osteopathic techniques such as massage, stretching, rebalancing and mobilisation. Your osteopath will also offer advice on posture, exercise and how to ergonomically assess your work environment.

Further investigations such as X-rays or M.R.I. scans may be required and you may also need to take pain relieving or anti-inflammatory drugs.


 

How long do symptoms last?

Everyone is different and recovery time is very much dependant on the underlying cause.  Most people will improve within six weeks. In the case of a herniated disc this usually takes at least three months. Good advice and treatment in the early stages of sciatica is invaluable.