Sciatica is one of the most common conditions that we treat here at West Coast Physio in our Galway-based physiotherapy and sports injury clinic. Sciatic nerve pain is a debilitating condition in which the patient experiences pain and/or numbness and tingling in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. This may be felt into the low back, glutes and back of the leg.

Sciatica is specific to the pain that is a direct result of sciatic nerve or sciatic nerve root disfunction. Sciatica pain often is worsened with flexion of the lumbar spine (bending forward), twisting, bending, or coughing. The sciatic nerve provides direct motor function to the hamstrings, lower extremity adductors, and indirect motor function to the calf muscles, anterior lower leg muscles, and some intrinsic foot muscles. Most cases of sciatica result from an inflammatory condition leading to an irritation of the sciatic nerve.

Common Causes

Any condition that may structurally impact or compress the sciatic nerve may cause sciatica symptoms. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging lumbar intervertebral disc. In the older persons, lumbar spinal stenosis may cause these symptoms as well. Lumbar or pelvic muscular spasm and/or inflammation may impinge a lumbar or sacral nerve root causing sciatic symptoms.


  • Pain (intense pain in the buttock)
  • Lumbosacral radicular leg pain
  • Numbness
  • Muscular weakness
  • Gait dysfunction
  • Sensory impairment/disturbance
  • Hot and cold or tingling/ burning sensations in the legs
  • Reflex impairment Treatment
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Stretching
  • Functional training
  • Localized corticosteroid injections
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Surgical evaluation and correction of any structural abnormalities such as disc herniation, epidural hematoma, epidural abscess or tumor (Only in severe cases)

The majority of sciatica cases that come through our doors at West Coast Physio can be treated with conservative methods. Correct exercise interventions coupled with regular physiotherapy can significantly improve function and reduce pain. If you have any questions about your symptoms, do not hesitate to give us a call. We will be happy to help.

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