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Symptoms Checklist:

  • Your pain can come on suddenly
  • You may have severe, deep, achy pain in the lower back
  • You may have a deep achy pain in your buttock
  • The pain may go down your leg, maybe as far as your foot
  • The pain gets worse if you cough, sneeze or laugh
  • You may feel numbness or tingling in your feet
  • You can have great difficulty standing up, or lying down
  • Particular positions lying, standing or sitting, ease the pain


The sciatic nerve is the longest in your body, coming from the spinal cord in the small of your back, dividing in two and running through both buttocks, legs, and calves and finishing in the feet.  When this nerve is pinched and becomes sore it is called Sciatica.  This may happen for a number of reasons.  The cushions between the bones in your spine (vertebrae) can bulge outwards and press on it (see Prolapsed Disc).  The small joints in your lower back may shift slightly and get locked in place, again pressing on the nerve.  Osteoarthritis may cause extra bony growth on the vertebrae that will press on the nerve and aggravate it.  The nerve also runs through a large muscle near the thigh.  Particular activities may cause this muscle to get over-tight and this too will aggravate the nerve and cause you pain.

Physical Therapy/Osteopathy and Sciatica

Your Therapist will want to find out exactly what happened to cause the pain.  They will ask about your previous health history including back history.  They will also observe the back and carry out a hands-on assessment.  Through all of these they will be able to identify which (if any) of the above problems you are suffering from.  The whole structure of the spine, 33 bones in all, are held together with the perfect agreement of a series of joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons and other soft tissue.  When all these work in synch, bones and joints are perfectly aligned.  When one part fails to do its job properly the trouble begins.  Your Therapist will want to identify the cause and work to restore it to perfect order.  With their finely tuned sense of touch, they can also identify the parts that may in future give trouble and encourage them to do their job properly, thus preventing problems arising.

Tags: Back - Lower, Lower Body, Hips, Legs, Feet, Muscles, Back pain, Sciatica


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