What is Sciatica?

It is one of the most common reasons for people missing work and seeing a doctor or physiotherapist.

Sciatica describes pain felt along the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, down through the buttock, hamstrings and into the lower leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. The spinal sections it originates from include L4, L5 or S1. 

In severe cases, sciatica can result from a herniated disc in the lumbar spine. 

What are the symptoms

Common symptoms of sciatica include:

Lower back pain

Buttock pain 

Leg pain



Calf muscle weakness

Foot and toe muscle weakness

The pain may be very painful and debilitating for some people or mild in others. Usually only one side of the body is affected.

Fortunatly, all our physiotherapists at both Abertillery Physiotherapy Clinic and Cardiff Physiotherapy Clinic have extensive experience in treating client’s with sciatica and spinal related pains.



Physiotherapy Treatment for Sciatica 

Stage I – Pain Relief & Protection

Managing your pain

Pain is the main reason that you seek treatment for sciatica. It is usually the final symptom that you developed and should be the first to improve.

Managing your inflammation. 

Inflammation is a normal part of your healing process post-injury. But, excessive inflammation can be the main cause of your sciati

Stage II – Restoring Normal Flexibility, Posture & Strength

As your pain and inflammation settles, we will turn our attention to restoring your normal back joint range of motion and resting muscle tension, lower limb muscle flexibility and posture.

The physiotherapist will assess your posture and muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best exercises for you specific to your needs. 

Swimming and hydrotherapy exercises are beneficial in early injury repair due to lesser body-weight in the buoyancy of water. This allows more movement without causing pain

Stage III – Restoring Full Function & Dynamic Control

The next stage of your rehabilitation is aimed at safely returning you to your desired activities. Everyone has different demands will determine what specific treatment goals you need to achieve. Your physiotherapist is the best person to guide your rehabilitation.

Stage IV – Preventing a Recurrence

Sciatica does have a tendency to return. The main reason it is thought to recur is due to insufficient rehabilitation.

Fine tuning your back mobility and core control and learning self-management techniques will ultimately help you to achieve your goal of safely returning to your work, previous sporting or leisure activities without sciatica.