What is it
Sciatica is a form of pain where the Sciatic nerve is being entrapped or compressed. It generally caused a sharp radiating pain from the lower back, into the buttocks and down the leg. This follows the path of the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is a big one, emerging out of the lower spine, with branches going into the glutes, hamstrings, calfs, and sole of the foot. Pain can manifest anywhere along this pathway, it can be localised in a specific spot, or can travel up and down the leg.
How does it happen
Sciatica can be caused by an acute lower back injury where the nerves are compressed as they leave the spine. It can also be triggered by very tight gluteal muscles as the nerve crosses through, or next to them.
Poor posture and exercise technique can also bring on sciatica due to muscle imbalnces through the hip and pelvis
How do I fix it
Firstly the cause needs to be addressed, if it is an acute back injury then various soft tissue therapies like massage and acupuncture can be very useful.
Nasty back disc injuries should be considered, seeing your GP, Phyios or Chiro who can perform investigations and order medical imaging may be a good idea particularly if there is debilitating pain.
Chiropractic and physio are also a good idea to treat the acute phase, particularly if the back and hip joints are causing issues
Corrective exercises will be needed particularly if the sciatica is been there for a while as the back and hip muscles often becomes weak.
Most cases of sciatica will resolve in 4 – 8 weeks with appropriate management.