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Sciatica – what it is and what it isn’t


Check out the PPT and learn about Sciatica causes and a few simple things that you can try to relieve the pain until you see a physiotherapist. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Sciatica – what it is and what it isn’t

Sciatica what it is and what it isnt
  • There is a common misconception that any pain
    in the leg is sciatica, however, true sciatica
    is a term that describes the symptoms caused by
    the sciatic nerve being pinched or compressed,
    not pain resulting from other issues such as
    referred joint, disc or muscular pain.

  • The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back,
    through the buttocks and down the back of the
    thigh to the lower leg and foot, meaning that the
    symptoms of sciatica typically pain, pins and
    needles and/or numbness can occur anywhere
    along this course.

What causes sciatica?
  • Sciatica is commonly caused by a bulging disc
    in the lower back and/or tight muscles in the
    buttock region, but can also be the result of
    other conditions such as spinal degeneration and
    traumatic injuries.

  • In many cases however, leg pain is not due to
    the sciatic nerve being pinched and is therefore
    not technically sciatica. Conditions such as
    muscle strains, trigger points and sacroiliac
    joint dysfunction can cause very similar pain to
    that felt in true sciatica, but usually dont
    cause pins and needles or numbness.

  • Because of this, it is important that you
    have your symptoms properly assessed so the
    correct diagnosis is made and the optimal
    treatment program can be created.

  • To assess your pain, your physiotherapist
    will ask you a series of questions relating to
    your symptoms, watch you move and use hands on
    techniques to feel for joint and muscle mobility.

  • Once it has been established that the
    symptoms are in fact due to the sciatic nerve
    being pinched, treatment will involve trying to
    relieve this pressure. Physiotherapists can use
    techniques such as joint mobilisations to open up
    joints that are causing pressure on the nerve and
    massage to loosen tight muscles that are pressing
    on the nerve.

What can you do?
  • If you think you are experiencing
    sciatic pain, there are a few simple things you
    can do to try to relieve the pain and discomfort
    associated with the condition until you can see a

  • 1. Lie down to alleviate the pressure of
    gravity on the nerve
  • 2. Change positions frequently to avoid
    joints and muscles stiffening up
  • 3. Use a heat pack on your lower back and/or
    buttocks to minimise the muscle spasm

  • Although the symptoms of sciatica are
    extremely unpleasant in the early stages, with
    proper management they can be settled and
    prevented from returning. The experienced
    physiotherapists at North West Physiotherapy will
    work with you to help get you back on your feet
    as quickly as possible and give you exercises and
    strategies to ensure that your sciatica does not

  • Contact us on 3353 4111 to book an
    appointment and get yourself on the road to
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