What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a symptom not a diagnosis. It means that the big nerve in the back of the leg is irritated and inflamed. The cause could be a joint not moving properly, or a tight muscle, or from a prolapsed disc. Because nerves are very sensitive structures they can take a long time to recover and sometimes remain irritated even when the obstruction has gone. This does not mean the nerve is damaged, it means that the nerve is still in its protective mechanism and needs mobilising and stretching just like a muscle.
How we treat Sciatica at Richmond Osteopaths
As mentioned the nerve can remain irritated even when the cause has gone. Stretching and mobilising the nerve is as important as stretching and mobilising the muscles and joints. Massage and stretches help to remove toxins, restore health of the muscles and free up the joints. Exercises aim to improve the mobility and stability of the back. Referral to consultants for surgery is always the last resort but if the joints of the vertebrae are causing a constant irritation to the nerve then surgery may be our recommendation.
Don’t panic. Easier said than done but many people have prolapsed discs and only very few have irritated nerves. This can be an awful experience, but it will get better! Apply ice to your back and take anti-inflammatory tablets. Get treatment sooner rather than later.