Sciatica, it's a subject I'm particularly interested in for a couple of reasons;
1. I've suffered with it myself and know just how painful and limiting it is.
2. I completed worked with several case study clients when I was training as a Reflexologist who had Sciatica. This meant I carried out a significant amount of research!
3. In both the case study clients, and more recent clients I've witnessed dramatic improvements in terms of pain levels and mobility.
So, a little bit about Sciatica.....
There are a number of causes of sciatica, one of the more common being a disc prolapse, also known as a ‘slipped’ or herniated disc. This occurs when one of the cartilage discs which are located between each spinal vertebrae bulges or ruptures. These discs give the spine flexibility and a wide range of movement. This bulging or rupturing compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve.
This doesn't happen in every case though, in some patients the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated as it travels through the gluteus maximus muscle and down in to the leg, spasms in these muscles affect the ability of the nerve to function, consequently its abilities are compromised.
Spinal injuries and infections can also cause sciatic pain. These can have many causes, both traumatic and systemic, but have the same outcome in that they cause either compression or irritation (or both) of the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve is the major nerve of the lower limb. It is the largest nerve in the body measuring approximately 2cm across. The nerve is rooted in the L4 to S3 vertebrae, and travels from here through the pelvis in to the gluteus maximus in to the posterior thigh. In the posterior thigh, the nerve has branches which link to the hamstrings and the adductor magnus.
Other less common causes of sciatica or sciatic pain include;
Spinal stenosis in which the spinal canal is narrowed, which in turn causes the spinal nerves to be compressed. This narrowing happens as part of the ageing process and is linked with degenerative changes in the lumbar spine.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra in the spine slips out of position. The disc moves either forwards or backwards, and happens most commonly in the lumbar region. This can happen for a number of reasons, and the resulting compression of the nerves give rise to the symptoms seen in sciatica sufferers. Causes of spondylolisthesis include degenerative changes in the vertebrae, bone abnormalities, sudden injury or trauma and birth defects.
The final, and more serious cause of sciatic pain is a spinal tumor, either benign or malignant. This is a tumor which forms as a result of a cell mutation and causes compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.
If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above it is important to visit your GP so that they can diagnose and treat your sciatica. Of course, Reflexology can help and I'm currently seeking case study clients to help me develop a more targeted treatment plan for Sciatica. Reflexology can help calm the nerve, thereby reducing the pain experienced. It also reduces anxiety levels which helps moderate perceived pain. For more information on becoming a case study client please visit the website here,
or alternatively contact me to arrange an appointment.