Our Cardiff team of chiropractors see a large number of patients presenting with symptoms of sciatica. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is being compressed causing pain in the buttock and often down the leg to the ankle or foot. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling or an altered unusual sensation down the course of the nerve. Additionally, weakness in the leg or ankle muscles can be experienced, sometimes resulting in a dropped foot where patients find it difficult to lift their toes and forefoot when walking. This can occur in either leg but infrequently in both legs. Many of our Cardiff patients describe the pain as a dull toothache type pain with or without intermittent sharp shooting pains.
The most common cause of sciatica is a disc herniation in the lower lumbar spine or degenerative changes (osteoarthritis) in the spine. In both cases the structures put pressure on the sciatic nerve or one of its nerve roots. Another reason for sciatica can be from compression by the buttock muscles, namely the piriformis. This is termed piriformis syndrome, in some people (approximately 10%) the sciatic nerve actually travels through the piriformis muscle, as a result these people are more prone to sciatic nerve compression symptoms.
Often when patients consult our Cardiff clinic they are aware that they have sciatica but they are not aware of the cause. We endeavour to identify the cause and therefore provide a specific treatment protocol to help the patient be pain free and rehabilitated as quickly as possible. Our treatment includes Cox Flexion Distraction which is a technique that decreases the pressure on the nerve roots by implementing specific distraction and decompression to the involved disc and joints. Spinal manipulation and mobilisation to increase range of motion in the joints and create a change in pressure at the nerve root. Soft tissue work to manipulate the muscles and fascia that may be causing secondary pain patterns as result of compensation or malfunctioning nerves. Additionally at our Cardiff clinic we prescribe exercises to floss the sciatic nerve, stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles including spinal (core) and leg muscles will be explained to help with long term rehabilitation.
At our clinics in Cardiff, Newport & Bridgend we are often asked how long it will take to get better. This depends upon the length of time you have had the condition, your general health and how good you are at doing the exercises you are given. Whatever your lifestyle or age we aim to find a treatment protocol which is realistic and effective for you.