What is it
You have a nerve called the sciatic nerve that originates in your spinal cord in your lower back, and travels deep down past your buttocks, down the back of your thighs and lower leg, to your foot. When this nerve is compressed or irritated at any point along its journey, this is known as sciatica. The result can appear as pain, numbness, muscular weakness or tingling anywhere along the nerve, which can range from a dull ache to incapacitating pain. You may also have difficulty moving and controlling your leg, significantly affecting your quality of life.
What triggers it
Sciatica can be triggered by anything that compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve. This includes everyday things like sitting too much, crossing your legs while you sit, wearing tight pants (particularly with phones or wallets in the back pocket), and uncomfortable shoes. It also includes tight muscles (particularly in the buttocks), injury to the lower back, arthritis, changes to the spine, and a bulging disc in the spine.
Osteopathy helps to relieve the symptoms of sciatica by using hands-on manipulation techniques to help mobilise the related joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons or organs and reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve. While often being viewed as a long-term problem, sciatica can often quickly resolve with the right management and self-care. We’ll also discuss the best ways to support your body at home, such as with gentle exercises that help increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles supporting the lower back such as swimming, yoga and Pilates.