What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that involves compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, hence its name. This leads to sharp, aching or burning pains in the lower back that can travel down the back of the thigh and even past the knee following the path of the sciatic nerve. You may also experience neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness and other altered sensations. Research shows an incidence of 10-40% of the population will experience sciatica at least once over a lifetime.
What causes and aggravates Sciatica?
Compression of the sciatic nerve can be caused by issues in the lumbar spine such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis or abnormal growths on the vertebrae. Alternatively, sciatica can also be caused by irritation to the gluteal and deep hip muscles that the nerve passes through. Pregnant women may also experience sciatica as the fetus places extra pressure on the sciatic nerve roots.
Once this pain has been established it will often be worsened by any activity or movement that places further pressure on the sciatic nerve. Things that commonly aggravate this pain include:
- Long drives or periods of sitting
- Bending forwards or excessive twisting
- Lifting heavy objects
- Coughing and sneezing
Sciatica is often mistaken for other injuries or conditions that involve lower back and radicular leg pain. Therefore, it is important to gain an accurate diagnosis. A trained physiotherapist will be able to set you up with a tailored treatment plan.
Book an appointment online or call the team at Hoppers Physio on (03) 9749 5110 to have your pain assessed and begin an appropriate rehab plan.