- Persons with acute or chronic lower back pain and/or hip issues
- Active persons with chronic muscular tightness
- Elderly, with normal age related changes to the body
- Desk workers & persons with chronic poor posture
Sciatica is a condition that refers to pain felt along the back of the thigh and lower leg, which normally originates from the lower back. The pain generally occurs along the sciatic nerve itself, which is the largest nerve in the body, and runs from the lower part of the spine, travelling along the back of the leg into the outer portion of the calf. Pinching and compression causes irritation to the nerve resulting in the above distribution of pain. Occasionally patients may complain of pins and needles and/ or numbness in the lower back, back of the leg or outside of the calf.
WHEN & HOW?
Sciatic nerve irritation occurs when the nerve itself is pinched or compressed by the surrounding soft tissue or bony structures. Pressure on the nerve can be caused by joint inflammation, arthritic or bony growths, or a locked facet joint in the lower back. Chronic tightness in muscles such as the piriformis or hamstring muscles can also cause irritation to the nerve resulting in flair ups. This often happens in persons who sit a lot and/or those with poor posture which results in these muscles becoming overly tight, causing compression to the sciatic nerve as it passes through the muscle.
To manage sciatica your local Move Forward physiotherapist will assess the entire lower quadrant to determine any factors that may be contributing to your injury. This will include a detailed look at the soft tissue structures, such as the hamstrings, glutes and calves, as well as the lumbar spine and hips. An individualized program and treatment plan will then be prescribed to help reduce irritation to the nerve in order to best manage your injury and to prevent any ongoing long term pain. A number of techniques may be used throughout your rehabilitation, which may include;
• Deep tissue massage
• Dry needling
• Joint mobilisations
• Stretching exercises
• Strengthening exercises can be incorporated into a Pilates program at both our Quinns Physiotherapy and Jindalee Physiotherapy Move Forward practices.
• Heat and/or ice therapy
• Specific activity modifications, performed under physio supervision at our Hillarys Physiotherapy practise