Dun Laoghaire Osteopathic Practice

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Sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve. This is the longest nerve in the body and supplies the whole of the leg and foot as well as the back of the thigh. Symptoms will give pain and/or pins and needles and/or numbness in these areas and, if severe, may cause muscle weakness.

The two main reasons for impingement of the sciatic nerve are a disc injury in the lower back (lumbar spine), or tightness of the posterior hip muscles. If a disc injury is implicated then there is likely to be acute low back pain with the condition, whereas entrapment in the hip muscles may be accompanied by posterior hip pain.

Hip muscle spasm or tightness irritating the nerve is the most common reason for sciatica. It can be easily treated by massage and other muscle release techniques, easing pressure on the nerve. Disc injuries can take many weeks to settle but most will respond to conservative treatment, such as gentle spinal movement and measures to reduce inflammation such as icepacks. Occasionally decompression by a surgeon is required and this can normally be performed by keyhole surgery. Prognosis after a disc injury is usually good. Occasionally there may be some chronic level of back pain and tightness of the hamstring muscle group at the back of the thigh. Treatment of any lingering symptoms or muscle tightness is very important for the proper function of the lumbar spine and lower limb, reducing the risk of any future injury.

Dun Laoghaire Osteopathic Practice

Phone: 087 2309808

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