Sciatica Treatment Edinburgh

Less pain. More Active.

Specialist Sciatica Treatment Edinburgh

Our aim at Active X is to provide you with relief from pain as quickly as possible. We have been delivering effective sciatica treatment in Edinburgh for a long time, so are well placed to help you.
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How common is sciatica?

Sciatica affects about around 1 in 4 people at some time in their lives. It’s more common in the over 40s. Have you been affected? If you haven’t, you probably know someone who has.

What is sciatica?

“Sciatica” is a description. And not a diagnosis. It describes where your symptoms are. But not what’s causing them.

It’s like going to the doctor and telling them you have a sore head, and them telling you that you have a headache.

Basically, sciatica is pain and/or pins and needles in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. You may also have weakness in one of the muscles supplied by the nerve.

The sciatic nerve covers from the buttock, through the back and outside of the thigh, and everything below the knee. 

Different types of sciatica

Broadly there are 3 types…

Due to underlying disease

This is very rare. See the screening questions below to find out whether you should see a doctor or not for sciatica.

Nerve compression sciatica

Where the nerve or one of its tributaries is compressed/irritated. This is fairly common. And the most common cause of this is a disc prolapse/herniation. We specialise in the non-surgical rehabilitation of people with disc prolapses and herniations.

Non-nerve compression sciatica

We often refer to this as “referred pain”. You can experience pain in the sciatic area if a muscle/ligament/joint in your lower back is hurting. This is because it has a common spinal nerve. So, let’s say you’ve strained a muscle in your back. The nerve supplying that muscle has a tributary from the L5 spinal nerve. But L5 spinal nerve also supplies a tributary to the sciatic nerve. So, you feel pain in the sciatic area, but there’s nothing wrong there.

What causes sciatica?

There are a number of risk factors for sciatica. If you have a history of recurrent low back pain, you’re more at risk. People who are significantly overweight are more prone to sciatica.

If you’re over 40, guess what? You have a greater risk of sciatica. And if you smoke, that increases your risk too – strange one. We think it’s because you are slower to heal if you smoke. It affects the “quality of your tissues”.

People who sit for long periods and those who do heavy manual work are both at more risk of sciatica. 

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Sciatica relief

Stay active

It’s really important to remain as active as the pain permits. The rules are slightly different, depending on how long you’ve had your pain.

Use painkillers for sciatica relief?

The recommendations on this are changing. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are often prescribed. But there’s recent evidence they may prolong pain. Codeine is sometimes prescribed. But opioids can cause dependency. There are other drugs that your doctor may prescribe for nerve pain.

Sciatica Treatment

There is evidence that osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage are helpful.

Immediate relief for sciatica pain

Our aim at Active X is to provide you with rapid relief. And to help you reduce the risk of another episode. Relief is not enough. More than 90% of our clients opt for prevention as well as relief of their sciatica.


Transcutaneous Electroneural Stimulation might help ease the symptoms. This is a little battery driven pack that is often given to labouring women. If you’re interested in trying this, we sell TENS units in the clinic. They are only £40.

Sciatica Diagnosis Versus Functional Assessment

At Active X we provide a Functional Assessment. While we help you understand the likely causes, it’s important for you to know what to do to get better. And what to avoid. This is where the Functional Assessment comes in. We will provide a FA at your first appointment.

Sciatica treatment near me
If you’ve googled “sciatica treatment near me”, you’re obviously keen to get rapid relief of your pain. Just click the “Book Now” button, and you’re on your way. We specialise in sciatica and low back pain.

Video about sciatica
Please excuse the very old video below. It may be old, but the information is as true now as it was then. 

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Play Video

When to see a doctor for your sciatica

If you answer “yes” to any of the below, we recommend you see a clinician specialising in this area:

Compared with during your waking day, is your pain worse when trying to sleep?

Have you lost any great amount of weight without meaning to over the last year?

Have you been diagnosed with Cancer at any time?

Have you had lower back surgery in the last 2 years?

Do you have any numbness (lack of sensation) or pins and needles in your pelvic floor area (up between your upper thighs, the area you would sit on if on a saddle)?

Have you had any recent change in sexual function? Loss of feeling, erection or ability to orgasm?

Do you have any difficulty urinating or defecating (using the toilet)?

Have you suffered any significant trauma recently, which in any way could impact on your lower back?

Have you been on a prolonged course of oral corticosteroids (steroids by mouth) in the past or now?

Have you had a persistent high temperature or chills recently?

If you do answer yes to one of the above, please contact us, rather than rushing off to your doctor.

Active X has specialised in relief AND prevention since 1993.  Our team, based in the West End of Edinburgh are keen to help you.

Secure your appointment today, by clicking one of the links below.

Sciatica FAQ’s

Sciatica is not a diagnosis.  It’s a description.  Sciatica is pain felt in the distribution of your sciatic nerve, which travels from the buttock down the outside and back of thigh, as well as supplying sensation to most of your lower leg and foot.  There are broadly 3 types of sciatica pain: sciatica due to to more “medical problems” (very rare); sciatica due to nerve entrapment (most commonly lumbar disc prolapse); and sciatica due to referred pain. Sciatica pain may be accompanied by tingling or numbness.

Relieving sciatica pain depends on the cause. It’s important to work out which movements aggravate the pain.  Often moving in the opposite direction will relieve the pain.  Again, depending on the cause, walking often helps to relieve sciatica pain.  Painkillers may or may not help, depending on the cause.  Osteopathy can help to relieve sciatica.

The buttock is the most common place to feel sciatica. Sciatica buttock pain – without thigh or lower leg pain – is less likely to be due to nerve entrapment.  And more likely due to referred pain.  Referred pain is when you feel pain in one place but it’s due to injury/irritation to a different area (commonly the lower back with sciatica). 

The sciatic nerve does not supply the groin.  Therefore, pain in the groin will not be due to sciatic nerve irritation. This area is supplied by the obturator nerve, which originates from spinal levels L2, L3 and L4.  Groin pain may be due to local muscular/tendon strain or hip joint problems, or referred pain from other areas, such as sacro-iliac joint problems.

Sciatica symptoms can include pain, tingling, pins and needles, numbness, feelings of running water, cramping muscles, twitching and weakness in the leg. The severity is usually dependent on the cause of the sciatica.  Referred pain is not usually as severe as when a nerve is irritated or directly compressed.  This can result in severe pain – like a line of pain following the nerve. 

Sciatica can resolve in days, or last many weeks or months.  It depends on the cause and how you manage that cause. Sciatica due to lumbar disc prolapse can take 3-6 months to resolve. Sciatica due to local muscular strain is likely to resolve in 2-3 weeks. 

The best treatment for sciatica is to treat the cause.  This is best done by consulting a clinician specialising in the diagnosis and management of sciatica.  Osteopathy has been shown to be effective in helping with sciatica.  Minimising activities which aggravate your sciatica is often important – especially with acute sciatica. If your sciatica is due to disc prolapse, some people benefit from surgical intervention. 

An osteopath will diagnose the cause of your sciatica.  This may involve various medical tests as well as a full osteopathic assessment, during which the osteopath will encourage you to tell the full story of your sciatica.  The osteopath will then provide treatment to alleviate your sciatica, and give you advice on how to avoid aggravating your sciatica and advice on how to help the cause to heal.  This may involve exercises as well as general lifestyle advice. 

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Ready to book?

If you’re ready to book or you have any questions then get in touch! You can reach us using the contact details below. If you’re a new client, don’t forget to take advantage of our new client special offer!



Sciatic nerve treatment, sciatica treatment in Edinburgh

Sciatic nerve treatment

What are your options for sciatic nerve treatment?  Would you benefit from seeing an Edinburgh osteopath?

Do I have sciatica?

If you’re not sure whether you have sciatica or not, it’s worth watching this old video “Have I got sciatica?

What treatment for sciatica?

It depends on what kind of sciatica you have. Broadly, there are 2 types of sciatica.

  1. Nerve compression sciatica
  2. Non-nerve compression sciatica

Treatment for nerve compression sciatica

Nerve compression sciatica is where you have actual compression of either the sciatic nerve or one of its tributaries.  The tributaries of the sciatic nerve are spinal nerves.  These nerves come from between your 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae and your 1st and 2nd sacral segments.  They are referred to as spinal nerves L4, L5, S1 and S2 (“L” standing for Lumbar, and “S” standing for Sacral).

The most common cause of nerve compression is a disc bulge/herniation/prolapse displacing a spinal nerve.  If you have nerve compression sciatica the pain tends to be worse below the knee rather than above it.  You will also likely be missing a tendon jerk and/or have a weakness in one of your leg muscles.

Sciatica nerve treatment will target the underlying cause of your sciatica.  If it’s a disc problem we need to treat the lumbar disc, and there are a number of possible approaches.  If it’s something more serious (there are other medical issues that can compress these nerves) then you’ll need medical intervention.  Here’s more detail on whether you need to see a doctor for sciatica.

Treatment for non-nerve compression sciatica

Sciatic nerve treatment when you don’t actually have compression of the sciatic nerve or its tributaries actually doesn’t involve treating the sciatic nerve. What we’re talking about here is referred pain.  You can have pain in the distribution of your sciatic nerve without any irritation of the nerve or of its tributaries.  Let’s say you have strained a muscle or a joint in your lower back.  That muscle or joint may have its nerve supply originating from the L5 spinal nerve.  Your brain can’t differentiate exactly where this is coming from and it may project the pain into another area supplied by L5 – that could be in the sciatic nerve zone.  This is non-nerve compression sciatica.  The treatment targets the cause – in this case the strained muscle or joint.

Sciatic nerve treatment in Edinburgh

Whether you have non-nerve compression or nerve compression sciatica, we are specialisists in sciatica in Edinburgh.

You can book  an osteopath online, or give us a ring on 0131 221 1415.

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