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What is Sciatica?

Woman stretching leg with help from physiotherapistSciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from the nerves in your lower back through your hips and buttocks and travels down each leg. Typically, sciatica only affects one side of your body.

Sciatica is a symptom defined as unilateral, well-localised leg pain with a sharp, shooting or burning quality that approximates to the dermatomal distribution of the sciatic nerve down the posterior lateral aspect of the leg, and normally radiates to the foot or ankle.

Several studies have suggested that in general an estimated 5%-10% of patients with low back pain have sciatica, whereas the reported lifetime prevalence of low back pain ranges from 49% to 70%.

Some studies have suggested that sciatica becomes more prevalent in individuals who are over the age of 30 years old, which may suggest a prolonged ‘wear and tear’ effect on the body. The signs and symptoms of sciatica can be seen in a wide range of individuals, from sporting athletes to office workers and people who perform manual labour on a daily basis.

What is the Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body, comprising of many individual nerve roots branching from the lower back (L4 – S3) to the feet. When affected by a spine-related medical condition, Sciatica symptoms are commonly located in the lower region of the body.

Common Risk Factors of Sciatica

Factors such as age, obesity, occupation, prolonged sitting, and diabetes are the most common risk factors cited in the scientific literature. It only makes sense that the ageing process can cause a ‘wear and tear’ effect on the structures of the lower back.

Likewise, chronic stress on the spinal column from prolonged sitting, heavy lifting, and repetitive actions can create an accumulation of stress and strain that eventually leads to degeneration or injury.

Despite the lack of supporting scientific evidence, there are other significant risk factors that need to be considered when discussing sciatica. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Systemic Inflammation
  • The presence of other chronic disease processes
  • Smoking
  • Chronic stress
  • Malnourishment through adhering to a processed food diet
  • Disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system
  • Constipation and other disease processes of the gut
  • Accumulation of stress and strain through various lifestyle factors. This may include poor sleeping patterns, prolonged psycho-emotional stress from work, home life, relationships or financial challenges, and chronic overload from training or sport.

Take a deep breath!

The Effortless Superhuman (ES) holistic healing practitioners are able to help the vast majority of patients overcome their sciatic-like symptoms quickly.

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Sciatica Treatment Subiaco, West Perth, WA | (08) 9388 2768