Sciatica

What is it?

Sciatica is a condition in which someone experiences pain in their back, deep in their buttock and also commonly down the back or side of their leg.

The sciatic nerve is a thick nerve that comes from your lower back and runs down the back side of your leg. It is responsible for providing power to big muscle groups like your glutes (buttock), hamstrings (back of the thigh) and calves as well as your foot muscles. Left untreated, Sciatica can be extremely painful and debilitating. 

How does it show up in your life?

Pain putting socks and shoes on

Housework often flares your pain and is a real chore

Painful looking after and playing with your kids/grandkids

You need to lie down to relieve pain

Sitting with feet up makes pain worse

You are always reaching for the next painkiller

Where you might feel pain?

Pain deep in your buttock and radiating down your leg into your calf

Can be experienced in the leg without back pain

Can be felt in the lower leg (calf and foot) without back pain

How it might feel?

Constant or intermittent pain (comes and goes)

Dull or aching and worse at night

Sharp, shooting, stabbing or burning pain

Pins and needles, tingling, numbness

Why do I get Sciatica?

Discs

Sciatica can be caused by a number of factors but one of the most common causes includes a disc herniation (or disc bulge), in which the inner part of the disc begins to press on the sciatic nerve. This compression causes the nerve to become painful. More can be read about discs on the Low Back Pain page (link).

Joints

Other causes of sciatica include inflammation of the joints of your lower back (facet joints). As the sciatic nerve exits your spine, it exits from a hole between the two joints and is therefore in very close proximity to these joints. The joint inflammation can therefore cause aggravation of the nerve. 

Why do facet joints become inflamed?

Again, there are a number of reasons but one of them is normal age-related changes that develop such as Osteoarthritis. In this condition the smooth cartilage that lines the joint begins to break down and as a result becomes rougher. As it does this, it narrows the space in which the nerve exits the spine meaning the nerve can be compressed and become painful.  

Other causes of Sciatica:

Stenosis. This is where we begin to lose height in between each level of the spine (vertebrae), which narrows the space in which the sciatic nerve exits. This reduction in space can cause compression of the nerve and subsequent pain.

Another main factor is prolonged postures… sitting all day puts the joints of the back into a compressed position, which over time can cause the joint to become inflamed.

Other factors include poor core strength, a lack of spinal and hip mobility and problems further away from the back in areas like the knees and ankles. 

Low Back Pain Image

How do we treat Sciatica?

We use our 4-step system to assess and treat sciatica as outlined below. This ensures you have the best possible chance of getting better and the problem not returning in future. 

1) Assess

First we listen to you and take a detailed history of your pain and problem. Then we assess your back, hips and lower legs using simple movement tests and screens. 

We then explain your likely diagnosis and proposed treatment plan of exactly what we need to do to get you better. 

2) Mobilise

We then begin treatment. This usually involves a combination of hands-on techniques as outlined below to help improve joint stiffness, decrease pain and improve muscle and nerve tension.

Soft tissue massage and mobilisation

Joint mobilisation

Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Muscle Energy Techniques

Taping

Advice around lifestyle, posture and ergonomics.

We begin to build your exercise rehab programme ensuring it fits around your life and is not overwhelming.

3) Strengthen

Once pain has begun to settle and we are moving in the right direction, the emphasis shifts to helping you build the necessary strength and resilience of muscles and joints in order to get those long-lasting results. We work with you 1:1 in our dedicated rehab space and/or start you in our group PhysioFit Pilates classes. 

4) Optimise

Now that you are well on your way to being pain free, we show you how to build on these results. Many of our clients choose to start our Physio Led Pilates classes which are an excellent way to stay consistent with your exercises and to keep you on track going forwards.

Note: Most people don’t need scans but if during the assessment or subsequent treatment sessions we decide your condition does need further investigation like an X-ray or MRI, we have the facilities to refer you privately if you wish. Usually, we can get this organised and have a result within 3-5 days. 

How do I get started?

If you are ready to book in then you can either phone the main desk on 0191 814 9717, or use our easy online booking system by clicking here and selecting the ‘Physiotherapy Assessment/First Appointment’ option at a day and time that suits you. You will usually be offered an appointment within 48 hours.

Like to speak to someone first?

No problem, please call the main desk and if needed we can have a physio call you back to discuss your specific situation. 

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say

Paul Scrafton
Paul Scrafton
2023-09-21
Physio linked to additional stretches/exercises and Pilates at JL Physiofit have improved my core strength and flexibility.
Rebecca Lowes
Rebecca Lowes
2023-09-18
Michael helped me with leg pain leading up to my first half marathon. I ended up running the whole distance with no pain and was able to enjoy the experience by taking his advice and getting treatment the week before the big run. Would recommend to anyone.
Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor
2023-09-15
Hi , i have had individual physiotherapy by Bev for my back and feet (plantar fascia )and have subsequently been able to join a beginners Pilate class run by Bev . The class is demanding , enjoyable and appropriate to my physical capability.
Alison Bailey
Alison Bailey
2023-09-15
I thoroughly enjoyed my Pilates class this morning. I found my teacher to be very thorough, aware of each pupils ability and very encouraging. Highly recommended. Thank you .
Sharon Oldroyd
Sharon Oldroyd
2023-09-15
Started treatment in September 2022 after hospital appointments with consultant and scans on my left knee. I booked to see Michael as I was having major pain/grinding noise and unable to do exercise or even walk up/down the stairs properly. He assessed my mobility and strength and developed a tailored, gradual rehab program that has helped me to build strength and confidence in my knee as well as helping me slowly get back into exercising. It's made a vast difference working with Michael as I'm not an easy person to work with and always push myself too far. All my exercises were shared via email and accessible via an app. Now I'm exercising 5 times a week, spinning, strength, cardio, HIIT, rowing and running (I can finally use my home gym). Thank you for your patience and understanding my needs. Would highly recommend Michael and JL PhysioFit.
Diana Robertson
Diana Robertson
2023-08-26
I am really enjoying beginners Pilates and feel like I have made good progress. The trainers are very good and it is a positive low-key atmosphere and everyone is friendly and welcoming.
Julie Tough
Julie Tough
2023-08-24
Enjoying this physio type class, definitely feeling the benefit.
Moira Luccock
Moira Luccock
2023-08-23
Good class today with Michael. Well taught by Michael with options to suit our abilities. Stretching so feel I have progressed. Light hearted banter too - what more could you want! Moira
Lesley Hughes
Lesley Hughes
2023-08-22
Good team that listen to what clients have to say before doing each Pilates class, so if you have a niggle they work with it. Exercises are testing but doable, even if at the time you are not sure about it, and if you can't then they come up with a variation for you to do. Friendly classes and staff.
Nick Winslow
Nick Winslow
2023-08-17
I attend pilates regularly and cannot overstate how much I value the advice ,motivation,and fun this provides.There is a real rewarding sense of progression.JL himself is my usual instructor ,but the entire team have an infectious enthusiasm that fosters self improvement.
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Ready to Book?

All of our appointments can be easily booked online or if you’d prefer to discuss your needs prior to booking in then please call 0191 814 9717 and we will be happy to chat.