This condition is really a trapped nerve, caused by the impingement of the sciatic nerve, which is the main nerve going from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the leg. The most common site of impingement is the lower back where the nerve leaves the spine, however it can also be caught by in the buttock.
The main causes are:
- Slipped Disk: where the inside of the disk protrudes, hitting the nerve and causing inflammation.
- Piriformis Syndrome: where the nerve is caught by the piriformis buttock muscle.
- Arthritis: where bony growth pinches the nerve, usually due to normal degeneration in the elderly.
- Slipping Spine (Spondylolisthesis): when a spinal vertebra slips forward and pinches the nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis – a less common condition where the spinal canal narrows.
- Pain running down the buttocks and the back of the thigh, sometimes into the lower leg.
- Low back Pain
- Numbness or tingling in the leg
- Weakness in the leg
Sciatica requires a careful and expert diagnosis by a trained professional. It is a common presentation in clinic and where appropriate, receives careful and expert treatment. Firstly an assessment and analysis is performed to establish how serious the problem is and then, if appropriate, gentle treatment is performed to mobilize structures, balancing body mechanics, and freeing up the structures causing the symptoms. This reduces pain and increases balance and symmetry.