So one of the things that we get asked all the time is: “Can a chiropractor/osteopath help with sciatica?”
So I wish there was a really straightforward answer here (and there obviously isn’t or else I wouldn’t be doing a video) however if I could shorten the answer it would be yes, probably.
What is Sciatica?
Firstly there are many different conditions that would cause symptoms that could be classed as “sciatica”.
I’m going to cover the most common causes in this video, however this is not supposed to replace medical advice or and this is certainly no substitute for visiting a qualified health practitioner and getting a full assessment and diagnosis.
Sciatica seems to be a really common term that we get asked about a lot. I think this is because it’s often a term that doctors use to describe lower back pain or any lower back pain that radiates further down, whether that be into the buttocks or the legs. The literal translation of sciatica means “pain in the legs” so because it’s quite a general term it’s not a term that we would commonly use in clinic.
One of the things we see very frequently in the clinic is patients who come in with a pain in their very lower part of their back which is radiating down past their buttocks and sometimes into their thighs, we would not usually class this as sciatica. What this is most likely to be is a problem with the either the facet joint or the SI joints which are the joints at the very bottom of your spine become very aggravated (whether that be from an injury or poor posture or degeneration over time) and they can refer pain into the hips and thighs.
Sometimes the muscles around the hip and the buttocks become very tight and a phenomenon on arises called a “trigger point”. Trigger points casue pain to refer in a typical pattern in the body and are usually quite easy to deal with. Our practitioners can help you with a trigger point if that’s your problem, the hardest part of dealing with the trigger point is making sure it doesn’t just come back after treatment, and this can be done with postural and lifestyle advice which we like to give to our patients that whenever we can.
Sometimes (usually if the pain goes shooting down the leg past the knee) we might suggest the possibility of a disc problem causing the leg pain. When we make a diagnosis of a disc problem it’s usually because the patient is in a lot of pain and the pain is sharp, shooting down past the knee, sometimes involving pins and needles or numbness too. We are fully trained and experienced in looking after people who have disc problems, however we do everything we can to avoid people getting themselves into trouble with their discs. Usually a disc problem takes longer to fix than a joint or muscle problem, and it is possible that disc problems will flare up again in future.
There are some rare things that can happen with your discs that require immediate medical attention and they are certainly things that we cannot help with, however it’s very unlikely that this is the problem (I’ve only ever seen one in my 14 years as a chiropractor) and if you are at all worried about your pain please do contact your medical doctor. Most cases of sciatica that present to us at the clinic are things we can happily help with.
If you’re unsure who to talk to about your condition, please head to our website and book yourself a free telephone consultation with one of our Chiropractors or Osteopaths and they’ll be happy to chat through your problem with you and give you some advice on what to do next.