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Osteopathy/Physiotherapy For Sciatica – Sciatica Treatment – Trapped Nerve Treatment

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain that runs along the sciatic nerve. The pain usually affects only one side of the lower body at a time and often extends from the lower back all the way through the back of the thigh, down through the leg. Occasionally the pain may also extend to the foot or toes. It is often a reoccurring condition that seems to worsen with every episode.

What are the symptoms of Sciatica?

  • Buttock, hamstring and/or calf pain that is worse when sitting
  • Lower back pain that is worse for coughing or sneezing
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • Burning or tingling down the leg
  • A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up
  • Pain may be persistent or come in spasms


What causes Sciatica?

In young and early middle-aged adults most sciatica results from inflammation or pressure from a bulging disc which can be very painful. In older people, changes in the spine due to conditions such as osteoarthritis may be responsible. Aggravating factors of sciatica include:

  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Wearing high heels


Without proper care, pinching of the sciatic nerve may result in months or even years of pain.

How is Sciatica diagnosed?

Your osteopath will diagnose sciatica by taking a full medical history and by testing your back, hips, and legs for strength, flexibility, sensation, and reflexes. In some cases it may be necessary to get an MRI scan of your back to show whether or not there is a specific disc injury pressing on a nerve. Your osteopath will discuss this with you. X-Rays are of no help in this condition because they only show the bones and not the softer tissues that cause this sort of trouble.

How is Sciatica treated?

Osteopathy has an essential role both for the acute episode as well as long term avoidance of further episodes. The most common type of sciatica that we encounter responds well to osteopathic treatment, which consists of relieving pressure and inflammation off the sciatic nerve. Typical sciatica treatments include:

  • Gentle Spinal mobilisation of the lower lumbar spine
  • Release of muscle spasm.
  • Traction of Lumbar spine manually
  • Gently articulating the affected joints.
  • Rehabilitation exercises.

Comments (4 Responses)

  1. the primary cause of sciatica is herniated disc. There are also people who suffer from bulging disc so that the bulged disc irritates the nerve and causes sciatica, but this is not common. Although bulging disc usually does not cause the pain, but the way that it changes to the disc herniation is very short. Number of bulging disc people is much larger than those with a herniated disk, but because it is painless, so people do not know to prevent. Bulging disc hides a huge risk, but the good information is that it can be cured completely by normal therapy (chiropractic method, hanging on pull up bar, swimming..). Conversely, a herniated disc can not recover completely in the current medical condition – they have no effective way to “patch” the torn annulus fibrosus. Because the annulus fibrosus has torn so it can not keep the nucleus pulposus inside: Although the herniated mass has been removed by surgery or returned to its former position by chiropractic method, but if the patients subjectively (think that the disease is healed completely) don’t conserve the health, the disease will recur again, even more serious. Thus, treatment of disc herniation is a long and arduous process – the patients must live with it, accept it, patiently conserve and exercise to the disease becomes gradually better and does not relapse

    Treatment of herniated disc is divided into two main methods: conservative treatment (no surgery – makes up 90% of cases of herniated disc) and surgery. Surgery is the last resort, when the volume of herniated mass is too large and compress seriously on the nerve roots or spinal cord can cause the patient to be completely paralyzed – at that time surgery is required emergency to rescue the patients. But the case of mild herniation, the doctor will recommend conservative treatment, never appoint the surgery, because the surgery contains a lot of risks and complications during surgery performance and after surgery.

    Conservative treatment is a very long way, attached to the patient from the first day of having herniated disc to the end of life. When beginning to suffer from herniated disc, the patient must perform “the cure”. When the pain ends, the patient must “prevent recurrence”. In both phases of conservative treatment (“cure” phase and “relapse prevention” phase), hanging on the pull up bar to stretch the spine is very necessary and effective:

    + In the “cure” phase: For patients newly have herniated disc, or have herniated disc for a time but at mild and medium level, or suffer from bulging disc, hanging on pull up bar help stretch the spine naturally thereby reduce the compression of the vertebrae on the herniated disc (or bulged disc). Nucleus pulposus is soft gel, when pinched it leak out (hernia) or make the disc bulge (bulging disc) – but when there is no compression it shrink naturally into original position. Therefore, hanging on pull up bar (or stretching the spine) will help the nucleus pulposus come back into annulus fibrosus, since then there are no longer irritations on nerves or spinal cord, the patient will not feel the pain and numbness. There are patients with bulging disc, only hanging on pull up bar regularly make the disease be completely healed.

    + In the “relapse prevention” phase: Hanging on pull up bar daily will help back muscles and abdominal muscles become strong, thereby supporting the spine a lot in bearing the body weight, reducing pressure on the discs. Each time hanging on pull up bar is the chance to reduce the compression on the disc, help nucleus pulposus to be at its normal position, no bulges or herniations occur. Many people place the pull up bar near the workplace or the bed for ease of daily exercise. When working, they stand up to hang on the pull up bar after 1 hour of sitting (4-5 times, each time for 15 seconds). Before going to bed they hang on the bar, then lie down immediately to maintain the stretched state of the spine and go to sleep.

    The patient must always be aware that they are “not healed completely” to exercise assiduously, take care of the health, protect the spine. On the other hand, because the pull up bar is extremely necessary tool in conservative treatment, and attached to the patient for whole life, so each patient of herniated disc /sciatica should be equipped a safety and high quality pull up bar – should not disregard. More information can be found at '"

    Posted by Mr Trinh in 23 May 2016
  2. Great article! I am an Osteopathy student and I’ve come accross a book called ‘Osteopathic treatment of low back pain and sciatica caused by disc prolapse’ which gave me a great insight into the osteopathy practice in order to treat sciatica. Here is the link to the work if someone is interested: '"

    Posted by Alan G. Smith in 27 January 2016
  3. Thanks for the message Taylor. Sorry to hear about your problem. Yes, there is a selection of treatments that you would benefit from at the Hatfield Practice. Please call our phone number so we can advise you further, we are always happy to help.
    Our opening hours are 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 4pm on Saturdays.

    Posted by Normskiii in 17 March 2015
  4. i have been told by having an ultra sound that i have torn a muscle in the calf of my right leg. the doctor at the fracture clinic just recommended co-codimole tablets and ice packs, is there any other treatment i could have to ease the awful pain i’m getting especially when i get out of bed

    Posted by taylor in 6 March 2015

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