Sciatica is a common – and painful – condition, that will affect anywhere between 10% to 40% of people at some point in their life.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. A number of nerve fibres branch out of the sacral area of the spinal cord, and join together to make the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs through the buttock, down the thigh to the back to the knee, where it splits into two separate branches. One branch, the tibial nerve, runs down the back of the calf to the sole of the foot. The other branch, the common perineal nerve, runs down the front and side of the calf. There’s a sciatic nerve in both the left and right leg.

If the sciatic nerve gets irritated or injured in some way, then sciatic can result.




Symptoms of sciatic can include


A burning pain running down some or all of the nerve


Electric shock feelings in the leg


Pins and needles or tingling in the feelings


Coldness in the leg


Numbness or muscle weakness in the leg

If you have sciatica symptoms also include numbness in the groin or between the legs, difficulties when defecating or urinating, or finding that you no longer have any urge to urinate, this could be a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome, and you should seek emergency medical help, mentioning symptoms and the possibility of Cauda Equina Syndrome.


Sciatica is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, and that can be caused in a name of ways – such as changes to the discs in the spine where the nerve fibres branch out. Inflammation around the sciatic nerve can also cause problems, and this can happen without any changes to the spinal discs. It can be caused by hypertension in the muscles around the sciatic nerve – regardless of cause, the condition can be very painful.

It’s most common in people in their forties and fifties, but it can affect anyone. There is no set progression for sciatica – some people recover quickly, whereas others can have the condition for months; research suggests around half the propel who have sciatica will have improved at three months, with three-quarters feeling better at 12 months.

The pain varies from person to person and day to day, but it’s important to remember it’s rarely dangerous.

Issues with the muscles in the low back, gluteals (the buttocks), thigh and calf can cause symptoms that mimic sciatica, but aren’t “true” sciatica, although these are often just as painful.


There are options to manage sciatica or sciatica like pain, including allowing yourself time to recover, exercise and weight management. Pain relief medication or even injections are also an option, and should be discussed with a GP or doctor.

Manual therapy can also help with the pain and restricted movement that can come with sciatica. At State 11, we use RAPID NeuroFascial Reset to help clients with sciatica, which means that although palpation occurs around the gluteal muscles and thigh, it’s not necessary for clothes to be removed.

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