Berkhamsted Osteopath’s clinical director Tim Hanwell knows all about sciatica from personal experience and is very well qualified to know how fellow sufferers may be feeling.
As an osteopath who has suffered with sciatica I can confirm it is one of the most unpleasant pains I have had the misfortune to experience; a deep toothache pain which can also manifest as pins and needles or numbness. Experiencing sciatic pain can be a very painful and scary process, however, with appropriate diagnosis and correct treatment it can usually be dealt with safely without relying on pain killers.
Sciatica symptoms and causes
Sciatica is the name given to any sort of leg pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg.
Sciatica can be caused by a prolapsed disc, bulging or herniated disc/s in the lumbar spine, disc degeneration, degeneration and arthritis in the spinal joints.
Sciatic symptoms can include a deep seated ache in the lower back, buttock, back of thigh and leg, i.e. hamstring and calf muscles as well as in the heel and foot. It can also cause a burning pain, pins and needles and numbness and in severe cases a sense of weakness in the whole leg and foot.
Painful personal experience
My sciatic pain was due to a herniated disc which was eventually successfully treated with a course of IDD Therapy. I now spend a lot of my clinical time treating patients who are suffering from bulging discs and sciatica. They often report that their pain is aggravated by standing still or sitting for more than a few minutes.
Strangely you might think that sciatic pains would be eased by lying down as the pressure is taken away from the disc, this however, is not always the case as most patients report that their sciatica prevents them from getting a good nights sleep. This in turn can lead to chronic tiredness which results in the patient not coping well with their pain. The journey can then progress downwards towards frustration and depression.
There are numerous medications which are prescribed for patients with sciatica including pain killers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories. These can be useful in controlling the pain in the short term but the potential side effects can sometimes be unpleasant.
Sciatica treatment options
Osteopaths and other manual therapists provide treatment to ease pressure on the nerve and address the dysfunction which causes the problems in the first place. Where manual therapy alone is not enough, IDD therapy can help take the pressure off the nerve and improve spinal function. It was IDD Therapy which helped me when manual therapy wasn’t enough and has allowed me to stay working without resorting to surgery.
If, like I was, you are suffering with sciatica and feel that you are on a downward spiral with your symptoms, then don’t despair as there is help available and IDD Therapy might be the the right treatment for you.