Chartered physio, Dr. Eoin Everard discusses what is sciatica, what causes it and simple fixes.
Sciatica typically refers to shooting pain into the buttock or down the leg. This shooting pain can be
described as pins and needles or a burning pain. It should not go below the knee and if it does I would
recommend further medical advice.
What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is generally caused by 2 main reasons. The First is that you have a thing called piriformis
syndrome This basically means that the piriformis ( a muscle underneath the glute at the hip) gets too
tight and is in spasm. The sciatic nerve either passes through this muscle or just underneath it.
Therefore, if the piriformis gets tight and contracts it presses on the sciatic nerve. This causes the nerve
to become irritated and makes it send those pins and needles or burning sensation.
How do we fix Sciatica?
Sciatica caused by piriformis syndrome can be fixed using a hockey ball. Simply sit on the hockey ball
and allow the muscle to relax. As part of the BackAware programme we give a simple 7minute routine to
help release piriformis syndrome. Click here to learn more about the programme.
Other causes of Sciatica
The second reason for sciatica has actually nothing to do with the sciatic nerve” It is that the lumbar
discs (discs in the low back) usually the bottom ones (L4/L5 or L5/S1) are bulging and pressing on the
nerves in the back. This spinal cord runs down the and splits into the sciatic nerve thus us feeling nervy
pain running down the leg. As the disc is pressing on the nerve it again irritates the nerves and the
nerves then start sending those irritating nerve pain signals.
Generally, sciatica caused by disc pain is worse in the morning or if we are sitting a lot. With our
BackAware Belt programme we get our clients to do a 5 minute morning routine to dramatically reduce
the bulging in the discs and take the pressure off the nerves.
Both Piriformis syndrome or a disc injry require your to get the core and glutes working again to help take
this nerve pain away. Again using your BackAware Belt you can be confident that you are exercising
correctly as the belt buzzes when you are in a poor position. We also have our follow along Back Pilates
programme to make sure you fix a lot of the key things that are causing sciatica.