Treating Sciatica

Offered By Walnut Grove Clinic

Sciatica is characterised by pain experienced down the leg, specifically along the route of the sciatic nerve, which is the back and side of the leg. Using the term to describe pain in the front or inside of the leg would be inaccurate since these areas are supplied by different nerves.

Sciatica or not sciatica? That is the question.

However, just because you are experiencing pain in the back or side of the leg doesn’t mean that you necessarily have sciatica.  There are many different conditions that can present with similar pain. Genuine nerve pain is usually shooting and sharp, often associated with numbness or weakness of the area/function it supplies. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is vital to ensure that you get the right treatment and management for the pain.

While the nerve can be compressed in several places, by far the most common cause of sciatica, accounting for around 90% of problems, is an intervertebral disc prolapse in the bottom two segments of the spine, known in layman’s terms as a slipped disc. One analogy is to visualise a jam doughnut. The nucleus (jam) squeezes out through the annulus (dough) and moves into the space where the nerve exits the spine.

Is a slipped disc common? Yes. Does it need surgery? Not usually.

Most sufferers fall into the 20-50 age bracket so are, perhaps, younger than might be expected. The nucleus of the disc is made up of a jelly-like hydrated substance which dries up and becomes desiccated over time. Because of this, once you pass the age of 50, the nucleus is no longer mobile, which prevents the disc from bulging out. That doesn’t mean you don’t get sciatica once you’re over 50, just that it is caused by degeneration and bony compression rather than the disc. However, the pain is much the same.

Prevention and treatment.

Some elements of disc prolapse may be hereditary, so choose your parents wisely! On a serious note, keeping strong and stable around the pelvis/lower back and good posture all reduce pressure on the disc. Lift carefully and preferably not repetitively. Importantly, don’t lift and twist at the same time – move your feet.

For first-timers, experiencing sciatica can be terrifying, but urged sufferers to try not to panic. Relax as much as possible and take enough pain relief to stop the leg pain. Speak to your GP if you need stronger medication than what’s available over the counter and try to keep moving; you need a good blood supply. Try not to sit down much, since this puts more than double the pressure on the disc than standing. So sit to eat, but other than that, do your best to potter around and lie down with a pillow under your head and knees. Hot packs might help too.

Good advice – great idea

Treatment can help in the early stage and later if you have waited to see if things improve. Ring up and get advice; even if you can’t move, we can give you some reassurance and make sure you are doing the right thing.  Very few patients go on to have surgery, with those who do usually requiring it because the nerve is becoming more compressed and at increasing risk of permanent change. Usually the nerve will bounce back to normal function with the right management.  The osteopathy, physiotherapy and acupuncture offered at Walnut Grove Clinic can all help with sciatica. 


Want to keep learning?  Read more about the author Zara Ford and explore more articles from Walnut Grove Clinic:

Musculoskeletal Health

Finished reading? Now find your perfect clinic.

Search our industry-leading directory for over 20,000 healthcare providers and clinics.

Search now

People also read

February 11, 2022
Finding Peace Over Pleasure
Finding Peace Over Pleasure

What are your first thoughts when you hear the words ‘peace’ or ‘pleasure’? For some, the words may be associated with each other even possibly used interchangeably, but in reality, there is a very distinct difference as observed by Jay Shetty.

July 23, 2021
UK Governing Bodies & Health Regulators Explained
UK Governing Bodies & Health Regulators Explained

At HealthHubble we understand just how important it is finding the right clinician, therapist or professional for your individual needs.

February 15, 2023
Discovering the Benefits of Clinical Hypnotherapy
Discovering the Benefits of Clinical Hypnotherapy

Do you feel stuck, frustrated or struggle with certain relationships? Perhaps you are feeling stressed or lacking motivation or confidence? Or maybe you are looking to create some healthier habits for the new year, but don’t quite know where to start

Featured Clinics

Venturi Cardiology | Expert in Angina, ECG & More | HealthHubble
Venturi Cardiology

Venturi Cardiology is an independent cardiology clinic based in the North West of England with over 30 years of combined expertise in preventative cardiology, cardiac imaging and invasive cardiology.

Cyncoed Dental & Aesthetic Skin Clinic | HealthHubble
Cyncoed Dental Practice & Aesthetic Skin Clinic

We are a private practice in the heart of Cyncoed dedicated to providing excellent dental care. Our range of preventative and cosmetic treatments include general dentistry, oral hygiene, teeth whitening, composite bonding, Invisalign and aesthetics.

London Orthodontics
London Orthodontics

Dr Simon Manara is a specialist Orthodontist and completed his speciality training in 2001, practicing in the Harley Street Medical Area since 2002. Dr Manara offers treatment in a personal and caring environment using the latest techniques.

Owen Lewis Hypnotherapy | Life Coaching & NLP | HealthHubble
Owen Lewis Inspirational Coaching & Hypnotherapy

REDISCOVER THE LIFE YOU ENJOY. Can't stop worrying? Stress and anxiety in the way of your daily life? Master Hypnotherapist, based in Sheffield can help you discover the way back to the life you deserve. Online appointments also available.