Level 4/178 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000


Sciatica is a condition in which pain travels down along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts from the nerve exiting from the lower back and then travels down through the hips and buttocks and then down into the leg.

The lifetime incidence of sciatica is reported to be between 10 – 40%. There is an annual incidence of 1 to 5%, with there being no gender predominance. The most common age group to experience sciatica is in the 40-50’s. Sciatica is rare in those under 20 years of age.

The most common causes of sciatica include a herniated or bulging lumbar disc. In the older population > 50’s, stenosis (narrowing) of the spaces whereby the nerve roots travel can cause sciatica. Other causes also include muscular spasm or conditions resulting in inflammation of the nerve root.

For those who experience sciatica, seeing an osteopath may be helpful for pain relief and improving movement.


  • Sciatica is most common in the ages of 40-50 years
  • Sciatica is caused by irritation or compression of the nerve roots travelling between L4 and S2. 
  • The sciatic nerve is the larges nerve in the body, with a diameter of up to 2cm
  • Sciatica results in shooting pain down from the back, buttock, hip and into the leg

The True Cost Of Sciatica And Nerve Pain

Sciatica can be a debilitating condition that results in persistent leg pain that impacts on not only ones function, but also their overall health and wellbeing.  There are a number of things that can result in sciatica and understanding the cause and how to best manage it so to avoid further aggravation is important. 

Consulting your osteopath can assist in gaining an understanding to its cause and also how to best manage it.  Typically sciatica complaints can be well managed through conservative care such as manual therapy and pain medication. In some circumstances a referral to a specialist may be of benefit and your osteopath will be able to assist in this process. 


Here are some common causes of nerve pain and sciatica:

  • Lower back complaint:  An injury to the lower back that involves the disc, facet joints and surrounding tissues may result in the nerves being irritated.  The outcome of this may be sciatic leg pain.
  • Muscle tightness: Occasionally tight mucsles around the posterior hip (piriformis) can result in pressure of the sciatic nerve. 
  • Job-related risk factors: Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or twisting can injure the back. A desk job may also play a role, especially if you are not moving frequently enough or are sitting in awkward postures for prolonged periods of time.
  • Age: Back pain becomes more common with age, particularly after the age of 45.


Some people may experience persistent sciatica if their complaint is related to the lower back.  This can result in persistent pain, reduced function and a reduction in ones overall health and wellbeing.  


If you experience sciatica (pain shooting down the leg), it is most often nothing to be alarmed about.  However, if you experience sudden, severe pain in the lower back or leg, with associated numbness or weakness, have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder, or suffer sciatica following a violent injury, please consult your local hospital as soon as possible.


The vast majority of sciatica presentations will typically get better with time and respond well to conservative management such as osteopathy and pain medication.  For those individuals where further investigations are required or more invasive interventions, your osteopath will be able to refer you off to the appropriate health professional. 


Book an osteopathy consultation with one of our industry leading osteos.


Advanced exercise rehabilitation osteopaths (Jarrod Testa / Heath Williams)

Advanced occupational health osteopaths (Heath Williams / Shaun Coghlan)

SAVE $10 - General pain, injury and musculoskeletal conditions (Beau Zanin)


  • Step 1:  Booking your consult –  Once you have booked a consult with one of our osteopaths, you will be sent a confirmation email and a pre consult questionnaire.  We want to find out why you have booked to see us and what you would like to get out of your consultation
  • Step 2:  Assess, Diagnose ad provide symptom relief – Your initial osteopathic consultation will take about 60 minutes in duration and during this consultation we will listen and talk to you about your complaint and what your goals are.  We will then take you through a comprehensive assessment and then discuss with you our findings and recommended treatment and management plan.  Treatment and management may include manual therapy to provide symptom relief and then a discussion around pain management and symptoms modification strategies. If you require a referral elsewhere, we will discuss this with you and facilitate this.
  • Step 3:  Improve capacity and performance –  Once your symptoms are under control, our goal will be to assist you with building your functional capacity, ability to perform everyday activities without pain and performance.  Our osteopaths will work with you to provide you with strategies to do so.  This may include exercise and  work related assessments and training.

Can Osteopathy Help With Sciatica And Nerve Pain

For those of you who experience sciatica without any major serious underlying causes, which essentially makes up the vast majority of cases, management strategies are varied and can include:

  • Pain medications such as NSAIDs, paracetamol and prescribed medications by your general practitioner
  • Manual therapy (massage, joint manipulation) from your osteopath to assist in pain modulation and improving movement
  • Dry needling
  • Corticosteroid injections

Your osteopath will deliver personaised treatments and provide you with education on self management strategies that may include the use of hot or cold packs, avoidance of prolonged sitting or standing, gentle stretches to aid in mobility of the back and hamstring and regular light activities to assist in movement and wellbeing.

Osteopathic Treatment For Sciatica

Our osteopaths will take a detailed case history and implement a thorough physical examination prior to performing manual therapy and prescribing any specific exercises.   Osteopathic treatment techniques such as massage, dry needling, joint mobilisation and stretching may assist in reducing your pain levels and also improve your general movement abilities.  

Depending on the severity of your complaint, your osteopath may also facilitate a referral to your general practitioner for further advice on pain medication.  Once symptoms start to settle down, your osteopath will also prescribe exercises to assist in restoring your movement and general strength and conditioning.  

Sciatica can vary in terms of prognosis and this will very much depend upon the cause of the sciatica.  In some circumstances where one has an acute lower back episode with inflammation around the sciatica nerve, this type of sciatic episode may last between 1 week and many weeks.  

For those sciatic complaints where there is a disc prolapse, the complaint can take from many weeks to months to improve.  In occasional circumstances one may also need to be referred off for a trial of a corticosteroid injection or surgery to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Book An Osteopathy Treatment For Nerve Pain or Sciatica

If you are suffering from nerve pain book a treatment with one of our osteopaths at Principle Four Osteopathy on Collins St Melbourne CBD. 




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