Sciatica is essentially compression on a pinched nerve. This can lead to pain, weakness or a tingling sensation which felt from the back of the buttocks, down to the leg, calf or as far down as the feet and toes. Rather than being a condition itself, sciatica is usually a sign of a more serious problem with the spine.
The symptoms of sciatica are likely to flare up when pressure is applied from the discs onto the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve, this runs from the lower back, down the back of each leg. When this happens, it causes damage and inflammation in the affected area. Pressure on the sciatic nerve is normally caused by a disc herniation or slipped disc.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Symptoms of sciatica can range in severity from mild, infrequent pain to constant and debilitating pain. The sensation can be felt in different ways, such as pain felt like a cramp, or a tingling feeling like pins and needles. You might find your symptoms are worse when doing certain things, like lifting, sitting, coughing or sneezing. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Pain radiating down the leg
- Burning or pins and needles sensation in the leg
- Pain that is made worse by otherwise normal activities (e.g. sitting, lifting, coughing or sneezing)
- Consistent pain on one side of the leg or buttocks
Treatments for Sciatica
The first thing we’ll need to do is find the underlying cause. Practitioners at ProBack Clinics will take your medical history, complete a thorough examination and perform physical tests. Standing x-rays may be needed to confirm the cause but occasionally we may refer for an upright MRI.
The first phase of care will be aiming to target sciatica pain relief. Our most effective therapy for disc injuries is usually Spinal Decompression, but some patients may benefit from combining their treatment with Shockwave or Laser therapy.
- Alleviating pressure on the nerve enables the damaged area to begin the healing process
- A recent study for spinal decompression reports the success rate across all patients suffering back pain, to be up to 88.9%
- Studies of patients suffering from chronic pain for over ten years saw a reduction in pain scores by up to 50% over a two week treatment period with spinal decompression.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a symptom caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. This pressure can result in numbness, tingling, pins and needles, weakness and pain in the back and down the legs.
What causes sciatica?
Sciatica can result from a disc injury, disc herniation, incorrect spinal position or bad posture over many years can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve over time.
What is the typical treatment plan for sciatica?
An initial phase of 12 decompression treatments over four to six weeks can be used for sciatica, but everybody is different! Treatment plans vary depending on your condition. During our consultation process, we will tailor a treatment plan to suit your individual needs. Healing of the spine varies from person to person, so although many patients feel relief from the first treatment, others may take up to 12-24 sessions.
How can spinal decompression help with sciatica pain relief?
Non-surgical spinal decompression gently applies a form of traction to the spine, causing the vertebras to separate. This helps to reposition a bulging disc by drawing in disc material, resulting in less pressure on the nerves. Nutrients, oxygen and fluids are then able to fill the area again, creating the right healing environment for the discs.
Can treatment for sciatica last long-term?
Standard treatment plans at ProBack Clinics are generally split into two phases, to give you the best results long term. The first phase will be pain relieving care, then the next phase involves spinal remodelling and rehabilitative care, to potentially help extend pain relief in the long term.
What are the best exercises for sciatica pain relief?
Before jumping into an exercise programme, it is crucial to know the underlying problem if you suffer from sciatica. Physical activity may help your treatment and progression to continue outside the clinic. As a guideline we only introduce exercises if you’re ready to perform exercises safely – for most patients this usually happens after an initial course of treatment has been completed.
In general, exercises such as nerve flossing or lumbar rolls are useful for those suffering with sciatica. Nerve flossing helps to relieve neural tension caused by spine compression, and is performed by slightly over-stretching a body segment until the altered nerve sensation is felt. This stretch helps to reduce numbness, tingling and pain, and can be done on the arms or legs. Each movement should be held for around thirty seconds and performed throughout the day.
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