Sciatica is pain from the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lumbar spine, through the hip, and down the leg to the foot. The pain can be felt anywhere along the path of the nerve, and can range from minor to severe.
Treatment for sciatica involves working with the structures of the back and hip that may be impinging on the nerve. The piriformis muscle of the hip is the most famous cause of sciatic pain, but it is not the only cause. Our posture, the way we walk, how we sit, and other habitual body habits change how our muscles work together over time, and when those systems become imbalanced, the ways they compensate often cause pain.
Sciatica treatment focuses on releasing tension, freeing adhered tissue, and addressing the structure and range of motion around the sciatic nerve, as well as other related issues that are causing imbalance and stress in the body. Often, a combination of bodywork, acupuncture, and somatic movement can help reduce and often resolve sciatica.
Bodywork works with the tissues directly to free adhesions, restore range of motion, and reduce muscular tension that may be impinging on the nerve. It also increases blood and nutrient flow to the nerve, which helps reduce pain signaling. Bodywork is also able to address complex causes of sciatica, like neck or shoulder tension, that in turn is affecting the hips and low back and so contributing to the pain.
Acupuncture is proven to be effective for pain treatment, including sciatica. It helps tone the nervous system, turning down the volume on pain signals from the nerve to the brain. When the body has been in pain for a while, or the issue has become chronic, the pain signals can get caught in a feedback loop that gets worse over time. Acupuncture is able to safely reset this process, which helps the restore nervous system health.
Somatic movement, like yoga or feldenkrais, brings awareness to where and how the body moves in space. It helps reconnect the brain to movement patterns in the body, and to rejuvenate tissues through movement, stretching, and using a larger range of motion. This in turn reduces tension in the body and helps address dysfunctional movement patterns.
Sciatica can be persistent, painful, and frustrating. Effective treatment understands that it is the result of dysfunction in complex structures of the body and works to release tension, restore function, and rebalance the nervous system in order to manage the pain and create health.