With bursts of pain shooting down your lower back, hips, buttocks and legs, sciatica is a condition caused by irritation, inflammation, pinching, or compression of a nerve root in the lower back. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, relieving sciatic pain is possible when you visit our team at West Pennant Hills Physio. Our services are personally tailored to all of our patients, and we’ll work with you to treat and alleviate sciatica symptoms to restore optimal physical function.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a term used to describe any pain that originates in the lower back and radiates along the large path of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the longest and thickest nerve in the body and branches from your lower back to your hips, buttocks and/or down both legs. If you have sciatica, you can experience mild to severe pain anywhere along the path of the nerve.
Symptoms of sciatica
While relieving sciatic pain requires consistent physical therapy and targeted exercises, most people experience the following symptoms:
- Burning sensation or moderate to severe pain in the lower back, buttocks or down the legs
- Constant pain on one side of the rear
- Hip pain
- Numbness or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs or feet
- Pins and needles in the legs, toes or feet
- Posture induced symptoms — Pain when sitting down, trying to stand up or bending and twisting the spine backwards and forwards
Risk factors for sciatica:
- Occupation — Those who have physical jobs that require them to bend and twist their spine repeatedly, carry heavy loads or drive a motor vehicle for long periods.
- Obesity — Excess body weight can increase stress on your spine, contributing to changes that can trigger sciatica.
- Prolonged sitting — Those who live a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop this condition.
- Osteoarthritis — This can cause damage to your spine, putting your nerves at risk of injury.
- Diabetes — This condition impacts how your body uses blood sugar, increasing your risk of nerve damage.
- Smoking — Nicotine in tobacco can damage spinal tissue, which fastens the rate your vertebral discs wear.
Causes of sciatica
While sciatica tends to develop over an extended period, this condition results from irritation of the roots in your lower lumbar and lumbosacral spine. Common causes include:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis — Narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back.
- A herniated or slipped disc — Discs are the cushioning pads between each spinal vertebra. Pressure placed on the disc can cause the gel-like centre to bulge, pushing the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This is one of the most common causes of sciatica.
- Spinal stenosis — The abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing reduces space for the spinal cord and nerves.
- Rare tumours in the lumbar spinal canal that compress the sciatic nerve.
- Piriformis syndrome — An uncommon neuromuscular condition that develops when the piriformis muscle in the buttocks spasms. This places pressure on the sciatic nerve.
How physiotherapy can relieve sciatic pain
Relieving sciatic pain immediately is possible with consistent physical therapy, massage and specific exercises. As the first line of intervention, the West Pennant Hills Physio team will create a personalised rehabilitation plan that will focus on strengthening and mobilising tissue in the lower back, pelvis, abdomen, buttocks, and thighs to provide relief from pain and alleviate sciatica symptoms. Through gentle nerve stretching, dry needling, spinal mobility work, and strengthening exercises that target support muscles to improve movement, we’ll ensure no lingering weaknesses affect your quality of life. We will also provide you with advice and education on positioning, posturing and the level of activity needed to settle long-term symptoms and relieve sciatic pain.
Book your appointment at West Pennant Hills Physio today
Specialising in pain management, sports injuries, WorkCover injury management and whiplash, our services are personally tailored to our patient’s individual needs to ensure we relieve sciatic pain immediately with effective physiotherapy. Whether your pain is mild, severe or debilitating, contact our expert team today to reduce symptoms and alleviate sciatica with short-term and long-term treatment plans.