The most common cause of sciatic pain is a bulging intervertebral disc as described on the low back pain page.
- Often felt along the back of one leg
- Can run from the lower back as far as the toes
- Can be in the leg without also being in the back
- Worse at night
- Hot or burning
- Pins and needles
- Hard to describe
Aggravating activities can include:
- Prolonged sitting
- Sitting with feet up
- Putting socks and shoes on
Easing Activities can include:
- Lumbar support
- Changing posture
- Sitting with knees bent
Please read about low back pain first then return to this page.
If the disc bulges close to the sciatic nerve, the local inflammatory chemicals or indeed, the pressure of the disc itself can cause irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The symptoms of ‘sciatica’ are usually low back pain accompanied by pain down the back of the leg which can extend as far the toes. Sometimes there can be leg pain without back pain and other symptoms can include, pins and needles, changes in skin sensation, loss of muscle power in the effected leg.
Joint degeneration caused by diseases such as osteoarthritis, spondylosis and osteoporosis can also cause sciatica. When bones degenerate they close down the space of the joints. In the spine that space is important to allow the spinal nerves to exit and travel to our limbs. If the joint space in the lumbar spine is narrowed significantly enough, the sciatic nerve becomes trapped and can cause pain anywhere along the distribution of the nerve.
How we treat
At Newcastle Physiotherapy we recommend a thorough assessment in order to diagnose the cause of your leg pain. It is imperative to receive the correct diagnosis in order to treat the condition successfully. At Newcastle Physiotherapy, leg pain is one of our specialties so you can be confident in accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment designed specifically for you. We may use an array of treatment approaches, dependent on your condition which may include:
- Joint mobilisation and manipulation
- Specific soft tissue massage and mobilisation
- Neural mobilisation
- Progressive core stability and functional exercise rehabilitation
- Postural and ergonomic advice
- Muscle Energy techniques
- Acupuncture and dry needling
- Sports and functional fascial taping
If we decide that your condition requires further investigation such as X- ray or MRI imaging we also have the facility to refer you privately if you so wish. You will usually be offered an appointment time with 48 hours and receive your results with 3- 5 days.