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Sciatica - a pain in the buttocks!

There is no doubt sciatica can be a real pain in the buttock!! Our lower backs are suffering with us all spending more time behind our desks or sat in the car and this can definitely start irritating our sciatic nerve.



So what is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest (2cm diameter at its widest!!) nerve in the body. It runs from the base of the spine in the lower back (L4 to S3) through the hips and buttocks and down the back of each thigh into the feet. It branches into 2 nerves just behind the knee which provide sensation in parts of the feet. The nerve supplies most areas of the lower limbs and is also responsible for motor movements such as walking, standing, running and climbing.

Sciatica occurs when the nerve becomes pinched, trapped or inflamed causing the leg to feel stiff and inflexible. It can cause severe pain, weakness in the leg and numbness or a tingling sensation anywhere along the nerve. It generally only occurs in one leg and can be intermittent or last for a few weeks.


What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is usually caused by a herniated disk in your spine or an overgrowth of bone on your vertebrae. However certain factors can raise your risk of sciatica. These include your age as the spine may change during ageing, being overweight, an occupation that requires heavy lifting and twisting, sitting for prolonged periods of time and being diabetic.


Self help

So what can you do to help ease the symptoms of sciatica? Keeping moving is crucial, sitting and lying down for long periods of time will only make the symptoms worse. Gentle stretching should help (focusing on your lower back). Look up online stretches especially ones for the piriformis muscle which can also be the culprit.


Your GP may be able to help with pain medication or referral to a physiotherapist if the pain becomes protracted or unbearable.



So what has this all got to do with reflexology?

As the nerve is integral to not only movement but sensation in the feet reflexology allows us great access to this nerve. Below is a list of the reflexes that will be worked during your treatment to help your sciatica.


Direct Reflex Points:

  • Sciatic nerve to stimulate and soothe the nerve. To help reduce the symptoms of sciatica.


Associated Reflex Points:

  • Brain (central organ of nervous system) to encourage the release of endorphins to help with pain relief. To encourage the body to enter a relaxed state (parasympathetic) and help it cope with the effects of stress. Linking the brain with the sacral spine will also help balance our parasympathetic nervous system.


  • Spine (33 individual bones stacked on top of each other). Focus on lumbar and sacral spine where the nerve originates. To promote spinal integrity, release tension and promote relaxation.


  • Entire musculo-skeletal system to balance the body’s stability. Work hip reflex as the nerve travels through this area. Working the muscles of the skeletal system (including piriformis) to help if the nerve is pinched.


  • Relaxation techniques to help with stress and encourage the body to release tension.




Reflexology may be able to help you with your sciatica. It will definitely help you to relax which promotes the body’s own healing responses and releases natural painkillers. If you are suffering with sciatica then definitely come and give reflexology a try.



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