The sciatic nerve is the main nerve running from the lower back to your leg and the irritation or pinching of this nerve can cause the severe leg pain, known as Sciatica.
Long term compression of the Sciatic nerve can severely damage it and affect its function. These symptoms could even become permanent, so when experiencing inexplicable, relentless or progressive pain, it is vital for one to immediately seek medical attention like that of a qualified physiotherapist.
What are the common symptoms of Sciatica?
Any occurrence of the following symptoms could indicate Sciatica:
What causes Sciatica?
Pressure or irritation at any point along the length of the sciatic nerve can cause Sciatica. These can include; a swollen or bulging disc, bony arthritic growths, or a locked facet joint which may also cause swelling, leading to dysfunction and degeneration of the nerve. This pressure and swelling may even be caused by stretching the nerve and it’s essential to recognise that these symptoms could be aggravated by additional stretching. It is also important to note that other sources of leg pain, like ‘Spinal stenosis’, ‘Spondylolisthesis’, ‘Piriformis syndrome’, ‘Sacroiliac dysfunction’ and even a localised injury to the leg, can all mimic Sciatica.
What is my best course of action?
Contact your Physiotherapist directly who, whether you have pain in the back or not, will pay special attention to your spine and legs during your examination. You will be tested for low back pain that spreads to the legs and calf, lack of sensation, muscle weaknesses and reflexes in the leg and foot.
You will be asked about previous injuries/trauma, problematic bladder or bowel control, previous cancers, fever or uncontrolled loss of weight which could all suggest a more sinister cause for these symptoms like a bone fracture, an infection, or even a growth.
If necessary your Physiotherapist will send you for X-rays, or possibly refer you for a specialist opinion, which may require an MRI scan.
Rest assured that most cases respond very well to conservative management, especially when the symptoms have developed over time rather than occurring suddenly after a trauma event. Contact us if you experience symptoms and we can begin a treatment plan together that aims for a) pain relief and protection, b) restoring flexibility strength and good posture, c) restoring full function and control ...and ultimately, preventing a recurrence while you resume your life!
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082 334 9028
Valley Centre Offices
396 Jan Smuts Avenue
(Convenient parking off Marian Road, behind the centre, up the ramp)
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You must not rely on the information on this site as an alternative to medical advice from your physiotherapist or other medical practitioner. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult directly with your physiotherapist or other medical practitioner. If you think you may be suffering from any condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on our website.