ISOMATIC Integrative Health Centre



What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. It often occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or irritated.


  • Radiating Pain: Sharp or burning pain that travels from the lower back down the back of one leg.
  • Numbness or Tingling: Sensations of pins and needles, numbness, or weakness in the leg or foot.
  • Worsened Pain with Movement: Discomfort exacerbated by sitting, standing, or certain movements.


  • Herniated Disc: Disc herniation in the lower spine can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal can compress the nerve roots.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Wear and tear of spinal discs leading to nerve irritation.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Slippage of a vertebra can cause nerve compression.


  • Medical History and Examination: Assessing symptoms, pain distribution, and nerve function.
  • Imaging Tests: MRI or CT scans to visualize the spine and detect any underlying causes.

Treatment Options

  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or muscle relaxants for pain relief.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises to strengthen back muscles and improve flexibility.
  • Hot or Cold Therapy: Application of heat or cold packs to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Epidural Steroid Injections: Injections to reduce inflammation around the affected nerve.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where other treatments fail, surgery might be an option to relieve nerve compression.

Self-Care and Management

  • Posture Improvement: Maintaining good posture to reduce pressure on the spine.
  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in low-impact activities to strengthen core muscles.
  • Proper Lifting Techniques: Using correct methods to lift heavy objects and avoid straining the back.

Sciatica can significantly impact daily life, but various treatment approaches, self-care practices, and lifestyle modifications can alleviate symptoms and improve overall spinal health. Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals is essential for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plans.

Scarborough in Toronto

Andrew Chan, R.H.N., DOMP, B.Sc., DO (Euro)

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