Woman with sciatic pain

Sciatica treatment in Medstead and Alton

Sciatica is a very common condition affecting the lower back, hips and legs, which around 40% of people will experience in some form during their lifetime

Sciatica is usually treatable with physical therapy such as osteopathy and acupuncture. We offer effective treatment for sciatica at our practices in Medstead and Alton, along with treatment for a wide range of other conditions, including back pain clinic and sports injury clinic services.

Booking is quick and simple using our online system, and we can normally see you within 48 hours. We are here to help, if you need any more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

Sciatica is characterised by pain or discomfort in the lower back, hips, buttocks, back of the leg, feet or toes. Because sciatica is caused by nerve problems, the exact sensations may vary from person to person. Whilst one person might experience mild symptoms of hot/cold, pins and needles or numbness, another might experience much more severe symptoms and shooting pain.

It is important to note that there are many other factors which cause similar symptoms and not all pain in these areas is necessarily due to sciatica. An experienced physical therapist can accurately diagnose sciatica by palpation, asking about your symptoms, functional tests such as examining your range of motion and which movements cause or relieve pain, and differential diagnosis, i.e. ruling out other potential causes. In rare cases, we may also refer you for scans, such as an X-ray or MRI.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is defined as any pain caused by or travelling along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a long and thick nerve originating between certain vertebrae of the lower back and extending through the pelvis and down the legs.

Sciatic pain may be caused by pressure on this nerve due to a slipped or herniated disc, bone spurs on the spine, or any other condition which causes the nerve to be pressured or pinched. Because this pressure may act on the nerve in a variety of different ways, the exact symptoms can vary from person to person.

Women are also more prone to sciatica during pregnancy, when pregnancy hormones can cause a softening of certain spinal structures, combined with changes in the spine and musculoskeletal system as a result of the weight of the developing baby.

Diagram of sciatic nerve
Sciatica - close-up of sciatic nerve and radiant pain pathway

How is sciatica treated?

The treatment of sciatica varies depending on the nature and severity of the problem. Whilst self-treatment for sciatica without professional guidance is not recommended, many people with mild and occasional symptoms may find relief from painkillers, heat pads or activities such as yoga and pilates, possibly without realising that their symptoms stem from a sciatic issue. At the other end of the scale and in rare cases, people with severe sciatic pain may require epidural injections or even surgery to relieve the pain.

Most cases of sciatica fall between these two extremes. Physical therapy such as osteopathy is an ideal treatment for the majority of cases. An osteopath or other suitable physical therapist is able to accurately diagnose your sciatica and provide the correct treatment to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve without the need for drugs or surgical intervention. Osteopaths are also qualified primary care practitioners, able to diagnose your problem in the first instance and know when to refer you for further diagnostic tests such as X-rays, or to a different healthcare service if physical therapy is not appropriate in your particular case.

Our approach to sciatica treatment

We are an experienced and long-established physical therapy clinic offering osteopathic treatment for sciatica at our Medstead and Alton clinics, alongside a range of other therapies including cranial osteopathy and western acupuncture. Booking is easy online and we can normally see you within 48 hours.

At your first appointment we will ask you about your symptoms, medical history and general lifestyle, and carry out a physical examination to get to the root cause of your problem and provide you with an accurate diagnosis. In nearly all cases we will treat you at your first session, and be able to give you an idea of how many further treatments sessions you will need – if any – and what improvements to expect over what timeframe. We will also show you any stretches or exercises you can do to aid your recovery, and any lifestyle modifications – such as workstation setup or type of mattress – that may help.

Learn more about your first appointment on our what to expect page.

Osteopath treating sciatica

Sciatica Treatment in Medstead

Sciatica Treatment in Alton

Medical Review

The information on this page has been reviewed by Michael Boyd BSc (Hons) Ost, Osteopath and Practice Manager at the Medstead Osteopathic Practice.

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