Sciatica is a symptom not a diagnosis. Sciatica is pain and possibly pins and needles caused by pressure, or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which can have several causes. If someone tells you what is causing your sciatica, that is a diagnosis.
We as Osteopaths can make a diagnosis, to help you understand what is causing your pain, which may be sciatica or it may be sciatic pain i.e. pain in the region of the sciatic nerve (which is all the way down the back of your leg). Once that diagnosis is made the Osteopath is trained to advise what is your next best course of action. Many causes of sciatica can be helped with Osteopathic Treatment, but some will need referral back to your GP and onto a specialist who may decide you need an MRI scan to show what is causing the compression of the nerve. This can often be a prolapsed disc and the specialist will then decide what further treatment is required.
Often though, pain down the back of the leg, in the region of the sciatic distribution, is not classical sciatica as just described and has a mechanical source, which can be readily treated by the Osteopath.
One type is when the nerve is compressed by the muscles of the buttock, known as piriformis syndrome; another is referred pain from the sacro-iliac joint. This is when the nerve supplying your pelvic joint, makes you feel the pain down the back of the leg.
So it is seen that this is a complicated matter and needs specialist training and a clear understanding of medicine and how the body works. That is all part of the Osteopaths 4 year, full time training, up to Masters level, recognised and overseen by University.
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