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Sciatica - A condition that's commonly misunderstood

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

Written by: Hayley Kwon

Is it sciatica that you have? Or something else? Many people assume that they have sciatica if they have pain in the lower back and going down into their leg(s). However, lower back pain associated with pain down the legs is not always an indication of sciatica.


What is Sciatica?

Not many people know exactly what sciatica is. In fact, sciatica is not a diagnosis – it is a symptom! Patients with sciatica usually describe the pain pattern as lower back pain and pain that travels down the back of the leg.

This type of pain may appear when the sciatic nerve (L4-S1 nerve root) has been affected. The pain may be caused by spinal injury or trauma, bone spurs or other growths, narrowing of the spinal canal or tight or swollen muscles in the buttocks.

However, pain in the gluteal muscles and legs can be caused by something else, too! For example, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, spine arthropathy and piriformis syndrome. So, it is very important to accurately identify what is causing YOUR pain. At our Osmosis Chiro clinic, we give a diagnosis based on a thorough history and physical examination of each individual.


Treatment for Sciatica

Different methods of treatment are available.

The most recommended one is conservative care, which includes physical treatment such as chiropractic treatment, exercises and medication. Many studies have shown that in the first 6–8 weeks, conservative treatment can be effective. If the pain does not improve after 6–8 weeks of conservative treatment, or if it gets worse, then it is time to consider surgery.


However, there are cases where patients need to get emergency treatment. Cauda equina

syndrome includes symptoms of localized low back pain, neurological symptoms in the lower limb(s), bladder or bowel incontinence and sharp, stabbing pain in the legs. If the patient shows symptoms of cauda equina, the patient should be sent to the hospital’s emergency department. It may be difficult for the patient to know whether they are suffering from cauda equina or sciatica; hence it is appropriate for the patient to seek advice from medical professionals.


How Osmosis Chiro can help

At Osmosis Chiro, our practitioners will give you a diagnosis after taking a history and

conducting a physical exam. Then we will provide a treatment plan suited to your condition,

and this includes chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue release and personalized rehab

exercises.

If you are concerned about this condition or have further questions, please do not hesitate

to contact us!

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Level 6, Suite 610, 321 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Tel: (02) 9264 7079