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Can we help with sciatic pain?
Osteopathy and orthotics are used by many people to alleviate and, in most cases cure, sciatic pain by removing the cause of the sciatica (nerve compression).
Osteopathic Treatment for Sciatica
When the nerves are compressed in the lumbar spine, articulation and traction techniques are used to increase the gaps between the vertebrae where nerve roots often get compressed. If the site of the nerve compression is in the buttock area, muscle release techniques will relax the muscles which have trapped and compressed the nerve that cause sciatic pain. If the symptoms persist, prescription orthotics may well be required to alter posture and prevent overuse of the buttock muscles.
Orthotic Treatment for Sciatica
Losing the height in the arches of your feet will have an effect on the leg above, making it rotate medially (twist inwards). This will result in your knees pointing inwards and can cause pain on walking or running. For this reason, your body will instinctively try to correct this by using the Piriformis muscle in your buttocks. This muscle twists your leg back out again, therefore putting the knee in the correct position. The problem arises due to the fact you are overusing the Piriformis muscle and it can become hypertonic (locked on). In many people, the sciatic nerve travels through the Piriformis muscle and can be compressed, leading to symptoms in the leg and foot when this happens. All this can be prevented with the use of prescription orthotic innersoles which will support the medial arch of the foot and prevent it from collapsing and leading to the problems mentioned above.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a term generally used to describe any pain caused by a compressed nerve affecting the buttock, leg and foot and not necessarily the sciatic nerve. These nerves can often get compressed as they pass through gaps in the lumbar spine, cross the sacroiliac joint in the pelvis, in the muscles of the buttock and the hamstrings. If left untreated these symptoms can occur at regular intervals, or after particular activities with increasing severity.
What are the symptoms of Sciatica?
- Burning or tingling sensation down the leg
- A shooting pain that can make it difficult to walk or stand
- Lower back pain that leads to leg pain when bending forwards, coughing or sneezing
- Pins and needles, weakness or numbness when moving the leg or foot
- Calf, buttock or hamstring pain that is worse when sitting in chairs or cars
- Symptoms may be constant or come and go in relation to activity
Why do people suffer from Sciatica?
People often develop sciatica as a result of inflammation in the facet joints of the spine, over-tight muscles or pressure from a bulging disc. In older people the pain often arises due to the changes that happen in their spine as they age, such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Factors that can contribute to sciatic pain can include:
- Increased curve in lumbar spine due to being overweight
- Dropped foot arches
- Poor muscle tone due to sedentary lifestyle
- Wearing high heels
How is Sciatica diagnosed?
Sciatica is diagnosed as a result of taking a full medical history and by testing your back, hips, and legs for flexibility and freedom of movement, sensation and reflexes. It is very useful to the osteopath to see any MRI scans or x-rays that you have had of your lower back to show whether or not there is a specific disc injury pressing on a nerve. Your osteopath will be able to discuss these scans with you and explain their implications in terms you will understand.
Pain-killers and Sciatic Pain, Do’s and Don’ts
It is never advisable to take pain relief before taking part in high-impact activities or physical work. This is because without the feedback from your body’s nervous system, it is easy to over-use and re-damage injured muscles and ligaments.
Although it is always better not to take drugs, as they all have side effects, they can be useful in some circumstances. lf muscle pain is preventing you from sleeping, this can have a serious effect on your whole life, and it is worth a compromise of the side effects of the pain-killers for a good night’s sleep.
Pain-killing drugs can sometimes counteract the effectiveness of other medication you may be taking, and in some cases can be very harmful. Therefore it is important to check with your Doctor or Pharmacist as to whether they are appropriate, or indeed safe.
Some inflammatory conditions will benefit from NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) but again, it must be remembered that they may reduce inflammation but not the cause of the inflammation. Also they can cause stomach problems in some cases.
Avenue Osteopath Sutton, Surrey – Nearby Towns
Avenue Osteopath Sutton, Surrey is near the towns of Stoneleigh, Ewell, Worcester Park, Epsom, Morden and New Malden.