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What is sciatica?

Sciatica is the name given to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It runs from the back of your pelvis, through your buttocks, and all the way down both legs, ending at your feet.

When something compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, it can cause a pain that radiates out from your lower back and travels down your leg to your calf. Sciatic pain can range from being mild to very severe.

Sciatica is caused by irritation or damage to the sciatic nerve. A slipped (or herniated) disc is the most common identified cause of sciatica, although there are other less common causes.

How do we treat sciatica at the Mansfield Clinic?

At the Mansfield Clinic, we specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of sciatica. The first steep is to determine the severity of the sciatica from careful assessment and examination. Then a number of treatment strategies will be offered, including the following:

  • In some cases, Dr Allfree may recommend treating you with osteopathy. Osteopathy can help to improve the flexibility of your spine. A special regime of back exercises may also be beneficial.
  • If you have persistent or troublesome sciatic pain, there are a number of painkilling medications that may help.
  • If other methods of pain relief have not worked, Dr Allfree may recommend a spinal corticosteroid and/or local anaesthetic injection. This delivers strong anti-inflammatory and painkilling medication directly to the inflamed area around the nerves of your spine, which may help release the pressure on your sciatic nerve and temporarily reduce your pain. The easiest way to do this is by a technique called a caudal epidural.
  • Surgery is rarely necessary to treat sciatica, although it may be considered if the condition has an identifiable cause, such as a herniated or "slipped" disc, the symptoms have not responded to other forms of treatment, or the symptoms are getting progressively worse. Dr Allfree will be able to arrange prompt surgical referral if need be.

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