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Sciatica: What it is and What to do

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that is often felt in the buttock along the back of the leg and in some cases can extend as far down to the foot as a result of nerve impingement.

The pain felt in these locations can either be referred pain sourced from nerve impingement in the lower back or can be from a common entrapment point directly located within the buttock.

Sciatica that is sourced from the lower back can be as a result of:

  • Bulging disc (associated with repetitive strain/load)
  • Disc degeneration (associated with ageing)
  • Osteoarthritis (associated with ageing/previous injuries)
  • Spondylolithesis (lumbar instability)

Sciatica that is sourced from the buttock is more commonly known as Piriformis Syndrome. The sciatic nerve can actually get trapped beneath the pirifirmis muscle (deep muscle apart of the gluteal muscle complex) which then presents as a deep, dull and achy sensation in the buttock and can refer down the leg as well

Common symptoms

  • Dull, achy pain in buttock
  • Pins and needles down leg
  • Weakness in foot
  • Diminished deep tendon reflexes

Aggravating factors of Sciatica

  • Sitting for prolonged periods (esp on harder surfaces)
  • Lifting
  • Bending and twisting
  • Certain sleeping positions
  • Underlying pelvic misalignments
  • Stress

Self-Care for Sciatica

  • Stretches for hip flexors, glutes, hamstring
  • Self-massage with hard ball around the glute, hip flexors, hamstring
  • Exercises that are aimed at strengthening the glutes
  • NSAIDs
  • Nerve tension stretches
  • Meditation

Passive treatments for Sciatica:

  • Spinal manipulation
  • Dry needling
  • Massage
  • Vibration therapy

Keep in mind that Sciatica is something that doesn’t get resolved immediately or within a short time frame. Often improvement requires consistency, discipline and patience with treatments, and usually playing around with a combination of active and passive therapies will lead to eventual resolution. Surgery should be considered only as a last resort once all options have been exhausted.

For any questions/queries regarding Sciatica or if interested in seeking treatment, please contact the clinic and one of our highly experienced therapists will be happy to assist you.


November 6, 2018
Bader Eldejany