What is sciatica?

ByLouise Hampton

What is sciatica?

Ever wondered what sciatica actually is?

Sciatica is usually the name given when the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed in some way, causing pain down the back of the leg where the sciatic nerve runs.  There are lots of different causes of sciatica but the main ones are either a disc pressing on one of the nerve roots or piriformis syndrome where the piriformis muscle presses on the sciatic nerve.

Here is a picture showing where the sciatic nerve runs and why pain, tingling or numbness can be felt all the way down to the foot.

 

Is a disc involved?

A disc would affect a nerve as it leaves the spine and depending on how much the disc is bulging effects how far down the leg the pain is felt.  Discs can also cause weakness in the muscles and the loss of reflexes.  If you ever experience pain down both legs with problems going to the toilet you must seek medical attention as soon as possible as it could be something called cauda equina.

The piriformis muscle

This next diagram shows where the piriformis is and how close it lies to the sciatic nerve.  Therefore if this muscle is in spasm it is more likely to affect the sciatic nerve.

 

If you suffer from pain in the back or leg why not give us a call and see if we can help.  We can do some orthopaedic tests to help us work out where your pain is coming from and the bast way to treat it.  You will then know how to manage your pain and how to prevent it coming back with advice on the best exercises to do along with treatment such as massage if a muscle like the piriformis is involved or treatment to reduce the inflammation in the spine.

To book your free chat call 01763 878087.

 

About the author

Louise Hampton administrator

Louise Hampton is a chiropractor and owner of the award winning Attend2Health clinic. She is a fellow of the British Chiropractic Association and first qualified in 2004 with a degree in Chiropractic. In her spare time she enjoys throwing the hammer in athletics and spending time with her children.