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What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a set of symptoms characterised generally by lower back pain that extends down into the buttock and can sometimes travel and refer all the way down the back of your leg to the foot. The pain can be quite sharp and burning in nature and can have associated pins and needles and or numbness.  Sciatic pain is generally felt on one side of the body and clients will often report that their leg pain is the primary or most significant cause of their pain and discomfort.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve gets irritated or sensitized which can either occur quite suddenly or can gradually build up over time.

The Sciatic nerve and it’s branches is extremely long, traveling from your lower back, through your gluteal muscles, down the back of the thigh, all the way down to the foot.

Sciatica occurs when the nerve gets irritated or compressed for various reasons.

  • Lower back problems such as a disc injury or arthritis of the lower back joints
  • Inflamation around some of the joint in the lower back
  • Tightness in the gluteal muscles, especially Piriformis can cause pressure and irritation of the sciatic nerve.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Sciatica

Seek help and get treatment early!

Research has demonstrated that it is important to continue with daily activities to help effectively manage Sciatica in the early stages. Therefore, it is imperative to seek help early to ensure you can stay as active and pain free as possible.

Your Physio will be able to provide treatment to relieve your pain and improve your movement. Physiotherapists are trained in manual hands on techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue release and neural gliding that helps to relieve your pain.

Your Physio will also give you gentle movement exercises to normalize and enhance your movement pattern. Then once able your Physio will then progress you to a graduated and appropriate strengthening program to increase your body’s capacity to deal with the demands of your life, work and sport.

Australian Physiotherapy Association