Unfortunately, Sciatica is often used as an umbrella diagnosis; that is to say its use merely infers pain travelling down one or both legs. However, in either use the term sciatica does not really help describe where or why that damage has taken place.
For this reason, other terms are often used to better define sciatica. Examples of these terms include piriformis syndrome, disc herniation, disc protrusion, neuropathy, nerve root irritation and radiculopathy.
In short, if you have pain down your leg, this may or may not be due to the sciatic nerve and a chiropractic examination is required to fully diagnose this. Very rarely sciatica can have a sinister origin, for example malignancy or multiple sclerosis, underlining the importance of a full assessment.
Treatment for sciatica that is not of a sinister nature is usually very straightforward, although this depends on the exact origin of pain. Most patients respond very well to chiropractic adjustments, but other treatment methods, such as the McKenzie protocol, soft tissue techniques and acupuncture are also used, when indicated, to assist recovery.
Preventing sciatica from returning is also achievable. Where lumbar discs are involved in causing the pain, as they very commonly are, the key is reducing stress on these discs. This entails avoiding bending the lower back forwards. As difficult as this may sound, substituting movement in the low back for movement in the hips is far more efficient once learned.