Sciatica is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve at the level of the spine and is a medical condition that needs to be x-rayed and properly diagnosed. When you are diagnosed with Sciatica you usually have sharp shooting pain down your leg or legs and find it very difficult to move without pain. The pain is constant and hard to alleviate in any way. If you suspect that you have this contact the hospital and get a proper checkup right away.
However there are two different kinds of sciatica one caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve at the level of the spine and one that is caused by irritation of the nerve at the level of the buttocks often referred to as Piriformis syndrome or fake sciatica.
An inflamed or contracted piriformis can squeeze the nerve and irritate it causing symptoms similar to sciatica including pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the buttocks, and even down the back of the thigh, calf and foot.
The pain and symptoms are less intense than sciatic pain, for example it usually comes and goes most often worse in the morning and becomes better as you start to move and get the circulation going.
Signs and symptoms of ‘Fake Sciatica’
Pain in one buttock
Worsens when seated for extended periods of time
Feels better from walking
Difficulty to stand up
Radiating pain down the leg
Mild numbness and tingling
Pain is usually not constant but changes throughout the day
This type of pain is best to treat as soon as possible as the body’s ability to resolve the tension becomes increasingly limited the more time you wait. Most often the body adapts to the pain and the movement restriction and finds a way to adapt to the new situation.
Osteopathic Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome
Osteopathic treatment is recommended for the treatment of Piriformis syndrome or “Fake Sciatica”. Osteopathy resolves muscle tension, restoring normal function of the joints and ligaments. This brings the body back to balance and healing can take place.
Exercises for fake sciatica
Start with mild stretches and muscle activation. Two exercises that we commonly use here at the clinic is bridge pose and sidling hip abduction. However make sure that you get help to set the exercises up in the right way so that you don't cause further irritation of the tissues.