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Sciatica and Nerve Pain

sciatica and back pain

Sciatica is the term for symptoms arising from the large sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back, down the back of the leg and into the foot.  Similar symtoms arise from problems with other nerves in the legs and arms and the condition is commonly referred to as a 'trapped nerve'.  These problems come from irritation, inflammation or compression of a nerve and can give rise to unusual symptoms.

Common symptoms of sciatica and nerve inflammation

  • Sharp pain following a distinct line along the pathway of the nerve
  • Pins and needles
  • Reduced or dull sensation or in some cases numbness to the touch
  • Altered sensation of temperature - the arm or leg can feel colder or warmer than usual
  • Sensory changes - the area of symptoms can feel unusual and people sometimes describe the sensation of water trickling or a deep ache or burning sensation in the leg or arm.

Most cases of sciatica do not require medical intervention.  However, you need to seek urgent medical attention if you experience other symptoms such as pain or numbness into both legs, disturbanc eof bladder or bowel function, numbness into the groin or progressive symptoms of weakness of the legs. 

Causes of sciatica and nerve symptoms

Nerves originate from the central spinal cord and travel to the rest of the body to send impulses to the tissues in the body.  They travel through many narrow tunnels between joints, muscles and ligaments and occasionally can become irriatated by tightness in those structure.  Injury to the structures such as discs in the spine can also cause irritation from local inflammation or compression from a disc bulging onto the nerve following injury.

Treatment for sciatica

Treatment for sciatica in MacclesfieldThe type of treatment required is dictated by the cause of symptoms, which is confirmed following your physiotherapy assessment.  If the symptoms arise from an injury to a disc then local treatment such as mobilisation and soft tissue treatment to reduce muscle spasm helps to reduce pain and increase movement and speed recovery to prevent further recurrence.

If the cause of smyptoms is local tightness then advice on stretching the right muscles and joints is appropriate.  Our physiotherapists can also help you to mobilise the area of tightness and highlight the original cause of symptoms to prevent them from returning.  In most cases with early treatment, nerve symptoms can resolve completely and quickly.

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above then book and appointment with one of our specialist physiotherapists by calling Trinity House Practice on 01625 500777 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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