What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to a group of symptoms described as pain or numbness that follows the path of the sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve extends from the low back to your buttocks and down the back of each thigh before branching in the lower leg and continuing all the way to the foot.


What are the Symptoms of Sciatica? 

  • Pain along with any point of the path of the sciatic nerve (low back, hip, buttock, thigh, calf, foot)
  • “Pins and needles” feeling (paresthesia) or tingling sensations along with any point of the path of the sciatic nerve
  • Muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot
  • Symptoms are most common in the lower back and buttocks and down into the thigh and calf, typically on one side

What are the most common areas for nerve entrapment?

Sciatic nerve entrapment is a condition where the nerves become compressed or stuck between the surrounding tissue and resulting in increased pressure on the nerve. This causes symptoms such as pain, numbness, burning, and tingling. Herniated discs, poor posture, bone spurs, or repetitive wear and tear are some of the common causes.

There are many medical conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and high blood pressure that put you at risk for developing this condition. A diagnosis such as sciatica can be caused by severe nerve entrapment. The diagnosis of an entrapped sciatic nerve requires a detailed history, exam, and imaging if necessary.

Sciatica can also be “diagnosed” as piriformis syndrome or deep gluteal nerve syndrome. From there, options can range from managing the symptoms, physical therapy including stretches and exercises with no relief, and offer little to no solution for your pain.

Sciatic stretches and exercises may seem like they were made just for you if you’re experiencing these symptoms, but if you have an entrapped sciatic nerve it has the potential to make your problem that much worse. A simple rule to follow when it comes to stretching – you shouldn’t have to force it.

If your body is blocking a movement, there’s a reason and your body is trying to protect itself from irritation or injury. When stretching, a healthy sciatic nerve should be able to glide effortlessly along its whole path – from your low back all the way to your foot.

If the sciatic nerve is entrapped, that means the body has stuck the sciatic nerve to surrounding muscles to prevent any damage or irritation. In that case, the more you stretch to try to create mobility in those areas, the more your body will fight back, increase your chances for injury, and cause more pain, irritation, and inflammation in that area.

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Specialized Soft Tissue Treatment Of The Sciatic Nerve:

With the sciatic nerve being the largest and longest in your body, there are a couple of locations where the sciatic nerve can become entrapped. The first being near the group of muscles that are responsible for externally rotating your hip. The sciatic nerve runs closely by these muscles and under repetitive motions and excessive load, adhesions can form that stick the nerve to the surrounding muscles causing it to become entrapped. 


Secondly, the sciatic nerve travels down the back of the thigh before branching near the knee. With constant irritation, abnormal movement patterns, etc. the nerve at this location can also become entrapped. 

What Do I Do To Fix It?

If you suffer from chronic pain such as burning, aching, numbness, or tingling along the sciatic nerve path as shown in the pictures above, you likely have an entrapped sciatic nerve. If you are struggling with chronic pain and you have failed numerous treatments, it’s time to come see the experts!

Vitality Soft Tissue & Spine specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of low back, hips, and sciatic nerve entrapment. You deserve a real solution to your pain, call 630-499-4078 to schedule your consultation today!


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