Spinal expert, Neil Velleman from Atkins Physiotherapy Consultants tells us the facts about sciatica and most importantly, how it can be treated non-invasively.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica describes the inflammation or compression of the sciatic nerve - running from the back of the pelvis through the buttocks and down both legs to the feet.  When the nerve is irritated, the result can be a shooting or grinding pain down one or both legs.  Sometimes the pain is accompanied by tingling, numbness or weakness in the legs and feet.


Will my sciatica go away by itself?

The good news is that most episodes of sciatica resolve within a couple of weeks with over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs.  Also, it helps to go about your normal daily activities if you can.  However, if your sciatic symptoms persist for more than six weeks, you should seek medical advice from a specialist.

Sometimes it’s necessary to make lifestyle changes to avoid undue stress on the lower back. Prolonged sitting or standing, playing golf and excessive driving are all linked with sciatica.


Sciatica caused by a herniated or ‘slipped’ disc

Discs are the protective pads of connective tissue dividing the bones of the spine - the ‘shock absorbers’ which protect the spine when we move around.

If we’re on our feet all day, sitting at workstations or lifting heavy objects, it’s possible to cause weakness in the spine which can eventually cause a disc to bulge out of its normal position or even rupture - imagine a jam doughnut being squeezed!  When damage like this occurs we might say that the disc has ’slipped’, herniated or prolapsed.


How does IDD Therapy help sciatica patients?

Long-term sciatica usually requires a combination of anti-inflammatory medicine, self-help techniques and physical therapy - including the targeted disc treatment, IDD Therapy.

IDD Therapy uses safe and gentle pulling forces to draw apart specific spinal segments where discs are damaged, removing pressure and irritation from trapped nerves.

This is particularly effective, since opening up the disc space helps to dilute any inflammatory toxins which might be causing irritation to the sciatic nerve whilst also relieving pressure from it.

Patients receive a structured programme of regular IDD Therapy sessions, allowing the body to adapt to treatment whilst progressively relieving pain and improving mobility.  

Research shows that patients with a herniated disc and accompanying sciatica showed a good to excellent improvement with this mode of treatment in 86% of cases.


Margaret’s IDD Therapy Experience

Retired nurse Margaret Vernalls suffered for 4 years with back pain and sciatica:

  “As a result of two disc bulges, I began to get a grinding sciatic pain in my leg when I’d been walking or sitting for too long. I couldn’t do my normal daily activities - even simple things like dressing myself and standing at the sink to wash the dishes. After IDD Therapy I’m virtually pain-free and enjoying walking with my friends again.  I’d definitely recommend IDD Therapy - it’s given me back my life!"


About the Expert

As well as his work with patients in the Woodford community, Neil Velleman lectures to medical students, GPs and colleagues.  He specialises in spinal disc conditions and associated nerve pain.  His practice is an approved IDD Therapy Disc Clinic.

Call Atkins Physiotherapy Consultants on 020 8504 0478 or go to: www.AtkinsPhysio.com   Located at: 154 High Road, Woodford Green IG8 9EF