Sciatica: Bowen technique & why time is of the essence.

sciaticIn a past post we discussed the Bowen technique, which is a gentle, non-invasive remedial therapy that offers effective treatment for a wide range of ailments.

Recently, our Bowen practitioner Kate Weeks heard from a client that she treated for sciatica in the early months of this year. Sciatica is caused by an impingement of the sciatic nerve, usually because there is pressure from a herniated disc at the origin of the nerve in the lower back. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back, through the back of the leg where it splits into two behind the knee, travelling down either side of the calf. Pain can be felt anywhere along the nerve, and where pain is felt usually indicates where the nerve is compromised in the lower back.

Without getting too technical, we wanted to illustrate how important it is to look at the body in a holistic way when treating pain. Kate’s client presented with a pain in the lower leg, rather than in the back and had been diagnosed by his GP and prescribed heavy duty pain killers. Kate says:

“When presented with a case of sciatica, or in fact any muscular skeletal pain, I always ask the question ‘why?’. Why is the lower back compromised? Where are the tensional pulls coming from – is it the hamstrings pulling the pelvis or a jaw or neck problem that is holding the head out of alignment and therefore forcing the body to compensate elsewhere? Is a shoulder problem creating a twist through the torso? How much stress is the client experiencing at the moment?”

Bowen examines this picture of the body as a whole and mild cases can resolve relatively quickly as tension leaves the body and joints re-align., but in more serious cases it can take some time for the inflammation in the nerve to go down: Kate again:

” I have found that although after an initial set of 3-4 treatments, the client will still be experiencing nerve pain, about a month after the treatments the client reports a reduction in pain that continues until they are pain free or at a point where medication can be stopped and they can begin to exercise. I am not against steroid injections or surgery as they have worked very well for some, and in some cases the damage to the nerve or problem in the lower back is so severe that this is the only course of action available. However, this approach doesn’t tend to establish the ‘why?’.

Kate’s client was initially cynical about using a complementary therapy but was relieved to find that Kate was keen to work alongside the treatment recommended by his GP.

“I considered a number of alternative treatments but was persuaded to give the Bowen Method a trial. I attended 4 sessions with Kate over about 6 weeks which immediately eased associated tension and stress in my back and neck which had slowly developed over the past 4 months. Kate had a complete understanding of the physiological problem and we talked through a treatment programme.

About 2 weeks after my last session the pain in my leg eased and now 2 months on I am pain free with only mild aches and some pins and needles.”

So do consider Bowen when you can’t find relief from the pain of sciatica via your GP or hospital. Obviously we would love you to come and see Kate at The Terrace, but wherever you are as you read this, do look up your local practitioner and find out more.

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