What is Sciatica ?

Sciatica is the set of symptoms caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve or of one of the five spinal nerve roots of the sciatic nerve.


Sciatica Symptoms

  • Lower back pain
  • Buttock pain
  • Massage
  • Possible pain referral into the leg
  • Numbness or weakness in various parts of the leg depending on which part of the nerve is irritated
  • Muscle wasting
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function if severe

Sciatica Causes

  • 90% of the cases is caused by spinal disc herniations pressing on one of the lumbar or sacral nerve roots in the spine.
  • The compression can come from the disc herniation itself or the swelling and inflammation that may be associated with the herniation.
  • Other causes of compression include spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome or tumour.

Sciatica Treatment

Treatment can vary from medication, surgery or conservative therapy. At Fort Healthcare, we focus on conservative care although will happily refer you to a surgical consult or medication if warranted.

Conservative care for sciatica treatment includes:

  • Joint adjustment or mobilisations
  • Massage/soft tissue therapy
  • Strengthening core and other relevant muscles to reduce forces on the spine and tissues that compress or irritate the nerve
  • Modification of activities. Heavy lifting or certain repetitive tasks can add stress to the disc or the nerve and either aggravate or be the underlying cause of the condition.

By reducing these forces, we aim to prevent or limit the re-occurrence of sciatica by reducing the chance of irritation or compression.

Sciatica Recovery time

Treatment time is based on case by case scenario and is dependent on a variety of factors. In initial cases, sciatica recovery can resolve within weeks to months.
Chronic sciatica is more difficult to treat and the reason why the nerve is continually irritated will need to be addressed. However, the earlier the intervention and treatment the more successful the treatment will be.
Sciatica is one of the most commonly treated conditions at Fort Healthcare. It can be effectively treated with the Fort Healthcare Premium Care Plan which includes:

  • Consultation with our multi-disciplinary specialist team.
  • Techniques to reduce inflammation, swelling, scar tissue adhesions and muscle tightness or pain.
  • Improve strength.
  • Self-management: take home exercise plans and rehabilitation training advice.