What you Need to Know about Sciatica

 Sciatica - pain along the large sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down through the buttocks and along the back of each leg - is a relatively common form of back pain. Sciatica is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc (also referred to as a bulging disc, ruptured disc or pinched nerve).  The problem is often diagnosed as a “radiculopathy”, meaning that a disc has protruded from its normal position in the vertebral column and is putting pressure on the nerve root.

For some people, the pain from sciatica can be severe and debilitating.  For others, the pain might be infrequent and irritating, but has the potential to get worse.  Usually sciatica only affects one side and the pain often radiates through the buttock and/or leg.

One or more of the following sensations may occur:-

·       Pain in the buttocks and/or leg that is worse when sitting

·       Burning or tingling down the leg

·       Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot

·       A constant pain on one side of the buttocks

·       A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

Any condition that causes irritation or impingement on the sciatic nerve can cause the pain associated with sciatica.  The most common cause is lumber herniated disc.  Other common caused include lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis.

Nerve pain is caused by a combination of pressure and inflammation on the nerve root and treatment is centred on relieving both of these conditions.  Treatments include:-


·       Manual treatments ( chiropractic treatments) to help relieve the pressure.



·       Medical treatments ( NSAIDs, oral steroids, or epidural steroid injections) to help relieve the inflammation.


·       Surgery ( microdiscectomy or lumber laminectomy) to help relieve both the pressure and inflammation may be warranted if the pain is severe and has not been relived with appropriate manual or medical treatments. 


The goal for the chiropractor would be to avoid the surgical route; this can be achieved with a balanced and intensive chiropractic treatment programme.


Steve Rule BSc (Chiro), (Hons) MMCA