Sciatica means symptoms attributed to one or more of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve. It’s not a diagnosis, since there are potentially many causes of irritation to the nerves. Sciatica can include very low back pain, buttock pain, pain in the back or side of the thigh, lower leg and foot. It might include pins and needles or other ‘buzzy’, tingly or numb feelings, and might co-exist with loss of power or coordination in the lower limb.
The nerves affected are normally not ‘trapped’ at all – rather, the blood supply to the nerves has been compromised – sometimes only by stress and tension in the powerful muscles in the lower part of the body.
The so-called ‘slipped disc’ (discs do not ever ‘slip’ – although they can degenerate or be damaged) is in fact a rare cause of severe sciatica.
The vast majority of cases of sciatica can be effectively managed by attention to relaxation, sufficient (and correct) exercise, and by osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, and attention to posture.