Sciatica refers to pain radiating from the low back to the back of the thigh and in the leg. It is a symptom rather than a diagnosis. Over recent decades, Sciatica has become more common in industrialised countries particularly in people exposed to manual handling and increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
The majority of sciatic symptoms are related to problems in the lower two inter-verterbal discs that are designed to absorb impressive forces. General wear and tear and traumatic injuries to these discs can lead to impingment of the nerves that provide sensation and power to the back of the thigh and leg.
Less common causes of sciatica include entrapment of the nerve in the piriformis muscle and increased weight-bearing during pregnancy.
The symptoms of sciatica include pain, weakness or pins and needles down the back either one or both legs and pain that is made worse by sitting, bending, lifting and walking up hills.
The treatment of sciatica is very much dependent on the diagnosis and the severity of the symptoms. Osteopathy can help alleviate compression on the disc through traction and manipulation followed by a series of corrective exercises. Pain-relieving medication is normally suggested for the first few days of sciatica.