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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Sciatica: Slipped Discs and Trapped Nerves

Sciatica: Slipped Discs and Trapped Nerves

Sciatica is of the most painful and difficult condition to treat, but having said this can respond very well to conservative means of treatment.

Dynamic Osteopaths in Henley-In-Arden Warwickshire has also become a Specialist Centre for Non-Surgical treatment for treatment of disc prolapse and sciatica conservative means of manual osteopathic treatment.


This term is commonly used to describe pain in the buttock or leg. It is often due to a problem at the level of the low lumbar spine, where nerves roots pass through and supply the leg. Although there is technically no injury to the leg, it’s possible to suffer from a referred pain from the spine which is felt in the leg.

True sciatica is due to impingement of the sciatic nerve, as it passes out of the lumbar spine or as it passes peripherally down the leg. It is felt as a sharp or dull pain radiating down the back of the leg and often into the sole of the foot and big toe. It may be associated with ‘pins and needles’ or even numbness, which usually starts in the big toe and works up the back of the leg. This is due to an impingement at the level of the spine and is known as radiculopathy medically but more commonly known as a ‘slipped disc’ to the general public.

Sciatic pain may also result from a condition known as Piriormis Syndrome. This may occur as the sciatic nerve runs close to the Piriformis muscle, located deep in the buttock, which may spasm due to a number of reasons and can lead to a trapped nerve. This condition mimics the symptoms of a slipped disc almost completely but is usually much easier to correct and responds well to osteopathic treatment.

Trapped nerves

These are extremely painful conditions and are unfortunately very common. These are usually caused by either direct pressure on the nerve or from a reduction of the blood flow from the squeezing of the blood vessels that supply the nerve. They usually occur in the arms or legs but can happen in the hands feet and around the chest.

Often characterised by a severe ache, often described as like a bad toothache, radiating into the limb which becomes sharp with movement and may give altered sensations such as ‘pins and needles’ in the hands or feet.

Slipped discs

Although known as a slipped disc, no slippage of the disc occurs. This is a disc prolapsed or bulge of the disc wall, or a rupture (herniation) can occur in more server cases. These can occur where the disc walls break down over a long period of time as a result of repetitive strain and abnormal loading through the disc due to poor posture, past injury, poor spinal mechanics, poor muscle support or poor working habits.

Symptoms can vary in relation to the positional lesions. This can give absolutely no pain at all or can give varying degrees of leg and low back pain. Although quite rare, a complete herniation can cause paralysis of the foot and leg and loss of control of the bladder and bowel.

These conditions require skilled assessment and diagnosis by an osteopath and will usually need an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis which we can arrange for you.

It is very important that any pain radiating into the limb is checked fast, no matter how minor, as fast intervention can often prevent more serious and painful conditions from developing. It is therefore important acknowledge even a mild backache or prolonged stiffness, especially in the morning, or any pain radiating into the leg or from ‘pins and needles’ in the foot, lasting longer than a few days as these.

Medication prescribed by your GP can often help with the pain but does not get to the cause of the entrapment meaning that it may take much longer for the entrapment to pass. Osteopaths are skilled at finding the mechanical reasons responsible for the nerve entrapments and use effective, gentle manual treatments to correct these predisposing factors and allow the disc to heal without the need for surgery or epidural injection.

There is good evidence to support the fact that osteopathic treatment can help with sciatic pain.

For further information please do not hessitate to get intouch with us at: or alternativley contact out clinic mobile at:

07966 317712

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