Sciatica is used a term commonly used to describe pain down one leg. It usually occurs from the irritation of the large sciatic nerve arising from the lumbar spine. Often a disc bulge in the lumbar spine can protrude and touch the nerve resulting in the constant, nerve like pain down the leg. True sciatica is described as pain down, past the knee and related to the area of the disc bulge that is touching the nerve. Sometimes there is also associated loss of sensation in the leg and weakness in the muscles.
The most common cause of pain down the leg, which tends to radiate in the buttock and down the back of the leg is related to a large muscle in the buttock called the piriformis. This muscle referral pain referral patter can mimic sciatic pain and sometimes (in 0.7% of the population) the sciatic nerve runs directly through this muscle. So when it becomes tight and spasms, it can cause the sciatic pain.
If you have had a CT scan to confirm you disc bulge we will discuss the appropriate treatment regime for your care. If you however had not received a diagnosis, our Chiropractors are highly trained in determining the cause of your pain. The can usually isolate the piriformis muscle and reproduce the pain you’re experiencing which is quite conclusive of the cause. If a disc herniation is suspected, we will often refer you to your GP for further imaging or we can refer you directly for an MRI of your spine.
The treatment to help alleviate your pain, will depend on the underlying cause. If the piriformis is deemed the culprit, dry needling and stretching is the answer. However if a disc bulge is suspected, we can use our special flexion distraction table to help reduce pressure within the disc, encouraging it to reduce. This will eventually take the pressure off the sciatic nerve.
If you are experiencing leg pain, you should consult one of our Chiropractors immediately to determine the cause. Call today or book online for a comprehensive assessment.