Sciatica is the umbrella term used for pain and irritation of the Sciatic nerve. The nerve runs from the base of the spine, through the buttocks, the back of the thigh and ‘true’ sciatica ends behind the knee before the nerve branches into the calf.

What does Sciatica feel like?

The common description is that Sciatica is pain from the lower back running down the back of the leg, the pain can feel shooting or a pulling sensation. However, it is also widely acknowledged that Sciatica is not an ‘all or nothing condition’, this is because the experience of sciatica varies from person to person. One person may experience shooting, another ache or cramping for example.

Symptoms change in a person, from hour to hour, day to day, year to year. Sciatica will not feel the same, all the time.

What is also important is that when it comes to ‘treating’ sciatica, what works to relieve one person’s sciatica, will not necessarily work for others. This is why complete a thorough assessment before providing sciatica treatment at our clinics in Bath, to find where our care and focus need to start.

Examples of what Sciatica feels like:


Shooting pain in the buttock alone

Tingling in the front of the thigh
Tingling or cramp in their toes
Weaknesses flexing their ankle or standing on their toes.

Tightening at the back of the knee.


Central pain in the lower back which can cause people to lean to one side or bend forward.

What causes Sciatica?

There are so many causes behind sciatica, just because it is a nerve that is involved does not mean that it always caused by a “trapped nerve” which actually, is rarely the case that a nerve is actually being pressed on by two bones or by a disc. However, a pressure exceeding the weight of a 5p coin can reduce the nerve function by 80% so it’s important to understand that even swelling around a vertebrae, a tight muscle or slight misalignment of the vertebrae can cause the same sensation of a truly “trapped” nerve.
Sciatica Treatment in Bath

Examples of what could be causing Sciatica:


Shortened, tight, weak piriformis muscle (the small muscle which turns your thigh and your feet outwards),

Irritation or inflammation at the nerve root as it exits between lumbar vertebrae L5 and S1.
Circulatory disorders such as diabetes.
Osteoporotic fracture of L5
Degenerative changes causing mechanical pressure on the nerve root

Inflammation or a prolapse of the L5/ S1 disc.

In our experience ‘Sciatica’ can be caused by any of the listed causes OR the same symptoms can be experienced but the cause is due to more dysfunctional movement in the spine which is being affected by the spine at the higher levels (i.e. the neck.)

How does Chiropractic help?

The principle of Chiropractic is that for appropriate regulation of the central nervous system (including but not limited to pain signals) all the spinal segments need to be moving appropriately. “Stuck” or “fixated” spinal segments have associated tight muscles and have an effect on the overall movement and function of the spine.

This is one of the primary focuses of our care, to improve the movement of the spinal segments. This aids in the pain and other neurological feedback signals, improves the mobility of the spine, and reduces the tension of the muscles. It is important to note that Chiropractors do not push discs back into place or slide vertebrae into the correct position. But inputs of energy and movement with manipulation (which is always appropriate amount for that person) supports a person’s body to relax, move more effectively and support the body let go of additional tension.

Remember, the more relaxed our body is the more we can heal and repair, we can never be stressed and healing at the same time.

So, in our experience, if someone is appropriate for Chiropractic care (this is something we establish in the consultation) then our care can help and reduce the symptoms of sciatica, lower back pain and leg pain/ symptoms. And, as we know and expect, in turn improves a persons’ quality of life, experience of activities as well as reduced reliance on pain killers for Sciatica.

Research concludes: Spinal manipulations have proven to be effective for pain relief for acute back pain and disc protrusion.

Chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion: a randomized double-blind clinical trial of active and simulated spinal manipulations.

National Library of Medicine, 2006