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The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body. It runs from the lower back, into the buttock and down the back of the leg to the sole of the foot and toes, the nerve plays a vital role in connecting the leg to the spinal cord, which controls the leg and the sensation felt in it.

Pain is experienced along the length of the nerve when there's is pressure on it usually, The compression commonly originates in the nerve roots, these are located within the spine and they exit out the sides of the spine and begin to course down the leg.

What causes the compression?

Sciatica is a symptom of what we call a 'primary problem' in the lower back. A variety of problems can lead to pressure that causes inflammation and pain along the sciatic nerve such as;

  • Disc bulge or herniation (slipped disc)

  • Stenosis (Narrowing of the openings by arthritis)

  • Spondylolisthesis

  • Piriformis muscle compression

  • Infection (rare)

Chiropractic care can help identify what is causing the compression through detailed examination if we feel we need further imaging such as X-rays and MRIs we can arrange these privately or liaise with your GP.

Symptoms of sciatica

The most common symptoms we see at the clinic include pain in the buttocks and hips, that travels down the leg.

It can be very painful and patients may experience:

  • Pins and needles

  • Numbness

  • Intense burning

  • Muscle weakness

Things that may affect the compression on the nerve are

  • Bending forward such as putting sock on,

  • Sitting for long periods

  • Driving for long periods

  • Coughing and sneezing can give the sensation of weakness and the affected leg giving way.

How can seeing a chiropractor help?

Chiropractors help create space and movement in and around the spinal joints which reduces the compression within the spine.

Chiropractors use a combination of massage, manipulations, stretching and mobilisation to help achieve this.

It is essential to use ice packs on this type of injury and follow the exercise rehab programme to help relieve the problem, continuing future exercises will help prevent return of the injury.

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