The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that travels from the lower back through the hip and down the leg and into the foot. It supplies both skin and muscles. Symptoms can include pain, numbness and tingling, and in some cases weakness. Although some cases can be complicated, most are treated conservatively and never return.
The nerve itself can become symptomatic with either inflammatory irritation or direct pressure. Stretching the nerve often results in inflammation, while muscle spasm, and soft tissue scarring are common examples of direct pressure. Although some cases of sciatica occur as a result of an acute injury, most often they present as a result of repetitive injury or overuse. Repetitive injury is often a result of overtraining or faulty mechanics. This can be seen frequently with runners and cyclists. Prolonged sitting and prolonged standing are also examples of overuse.
To treat the underlying cause of sciatica the pressure has to be taken off the nerve or inflammation has to be reduced. This is why patients with sciatica respond extremely well to manual therapy, to treat muscle spasm and other soft tissue adhesions. In addition, modification to outside factors should be made. This could include ergonomic factors or other exercise modifications.
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