Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain that originates in the lower back or buttock and travels down the leg. It can cause a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to severe pain and even muscle weakness, numbness, burning or tingling sensations. It is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, which can come about for a number of reasons including disc herniation, degenerative changes in the spine and other factors causing narrowing or compression around the nerve root.
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for sciatica, helping to reduce pain, improve mobility, and prevent the condition from recurring.
Treatment will vary depending on what your Physiotherapist determines the primary cause of sciatica to be, however may include the following:
- Education and advice: Regarding do’s and don’ts in the early stages and throughout the rehabilitation process. This should prevent prevent your symptoms from worsening, and then allow you to see improvement in pain and symptoms.
- Manual Therapy: Including massage and joint mobilisation. Manual techniques can reduce pain, desensitise the area and help regain movement.
- Dry Needling: A technique using fine needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate trigger points, or tight knots of muscles, beneath the surface. The goal is to relieve pain and improve range of motion by releasing tension and increasing blood flow to the affected area.
- Exercise: Aimed at reducing tightness and regaining strength. Your Physiotherapist will guide you through exercises you can complete without aggravating your symptoms.
In addition to these treatments your Physiotherapist may also provide advice on lifestyle changes, postural correction and ongoing exercise to prevent the likelihood of the problem recurring. With proper treatment, most people with sciatica can experience significant relief from their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
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