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What is Sciatica and how can it be managed with Osteopathy?

Sciatica is a very common complaint. It can affect anybody, however, it is a lot more common in individuals who are between the age of 30 and 70 and pregnant women, actually, women, in general, are three times more likely to experience sciatic nerve pain than men. Sciatica is a term to define pain triggered by irritability or compression of the sciatic nerve. Our Oxford osteopaths are experienced at diagnosing and effectively treating sciatica, using the latest software we are able to tailor a specific treatment plan to enable a faster recovery time.

What is sciatica?

Sciatic nerve pain can happen as a result of a trauma, deterioration in the spine, herniation of a lumbar disc and also pregnancy. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back and down the back of the legs to the ankle, feet, and toes. Sciatica is a term used when there is pain present within this area as a result of the sciatic nerve being impinged, inflamed or ‘trapped’

Pain from Sciatic nerve irritation can differ from patient to patient and can cause either slight/moderate pain to being almost completely debilitating. For some people it can be episodic too, so the pain comes and goes in flare-ups, in others, it can be there at all times, it will usually affect one side of the body as opposed to both sides at the same time.

Signs and symptoms of sciatica

Sciatic can present in several ways, however, more commonly you can expect to experience one or a few of the following symptoms:

Pain in the lower back, leg or buttock, the pain can be at is even worse when sitting down.

Burning, prickling, or numbness down the leg and/or a change in sensation.

Weakness in the leg, ankle or foot.

Pain when walking, lying down or sitting down.

For some people, the discomfort can extend the whole length of where the sciatic never runs, so from the lower back and into the foot, for others, they may just experience pain from the lower back and not past the knee.sciatica in oxford

What can you do to help with sciatic pain?

If you have any of the above symptoms then you may be suffering from sciatic nerve pain.  It isn’t necessary for you to visit your GP for a diagnosis, you can visit any health care professional such as an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor for diagnosis and treatment. Your practitioner will help reach a diagnosis and ensure that the pain that you are experiencing is sciatica and will rule out any other ‘red flags’ that can sometimes present as sciatica.  Questions such as ‘Have you experienced any changes in your bladder control or is there any numbness around your saddle area’ are commonly asked questions, along with ‘Have you experienced any dramatic weight loss or do you have an overwhelming feeling of general tiredness’ these questions will enable your practitioner to rule out any other conditions such as cauda equina, cancer or an abdominal aortic aneurysm that can sometimes present with sciatic symptoms.  If you are experiencing any of the previous symptoms then we recommend that you visit your GP initially to explain the changes as these could be signs of more serious complications.

In the short term, you mind find that over-the-counter medication could help to reduce your symptoms, but it is important for your long-term help to seek advice from an osteopath or manual therapist who is experienced in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, such as sciatica.  Long term, along with treatment it may help for you to increase your activity levels and fitness to ensure that your body is strong enough to decrease the likelihood of your sciatica returning.  sciatica in oxford

Can osteopathy help sciatic nerve pain?

Simply put, yes. As all Osteopaths are skilled at diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, this means that osteopaths are able to treat the muscles and joints which can relieve your sciatica and help to reduce the likelihood of your sciatic return in the future.  When you present at Kennington Osteopathic Practice with sciatica, we will begin with asking you a range of questions to help us diagnose your presenting complaint. We will then ask you to perform a range of movements to determine what is exactly causing your pain.  After a diagnosis is made we will talk to you about how we can help reduce your symptoms using mobilistation, soft tissue treatment, and manipulation.  You will be given a tailored exercise plan using the latest software to ensure that you are able to manage your symptoms alone and to complement your osteopathy sessions.   Home exercises such as stretching and strengthening will ensure that treatment is being performed daily which will also help increase your recovery time.  At Kennington Osteopathic Practice we are experienced in treating sciatica and are available to help reduce your sciatic pain and resume your daily life activities.

sciatica in oxfordSciatica is a very common condition at our Oxford osteopathy practice, we treat it regularly and effectively using osteopathy.  Call Sophie today on 07787 404419 to discuss how osteopathy can help you with your sciatica.