Health Now

Managing Sciatica Without The Cost

Low back pain affects up to 80% of New Zealanders at some point throughout their lifetime – and a common cause of this pain is sciatica. With the pain from sciatica severely disrupting a person’s daily life, their comfort and the movements that they are able to perform, it’s important to manage it promptly and effectively, with the care of a trusted physio on your team.

What Is Sciatica?

Pain caused by sciatica starts in the lower back or the buttocks region and travels down into one or both legs. It gets the name sciatica because the pain travels down the path of the sciatic nerve, from the back, down the leg and into the foot.

Sciatic nerve pain can vary greatly – from sharp shooting pains that may feel like electric shocks down the legs to dull pain paired with burning, numbness or tingling. Muscle weakness and trouble walking, including foot drop, are also common. 

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is commonly caused by a slipped disc, where a rubbery spinal disc that sits between your vertebrae bulges and rubs against the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, a disc may break open, spilling out its outer fibrous layer and pushing the inner toothpaste-like material out. 

Another common cause of sciatica is spinal stenosis. This is an age-related condition where the nerve passages in your spine narrow over time, which irritates or compresses one or more spinal nerves. There is also a range of less common causes of sciatica, such as a back injury, infection and tumour, among others. There may also not be an obvious cause.

Risk factors for sciatica include being aged between 30 and 40 years, working in a role that requires heavy lifting for prolonged periods, and those who live a sedentary lifestyle – including those sitting for long periods at work.

Physiotherapy Treatment For Sciatica

Physiotherapy is one of the ways to help manage sciatica with proven benefits. Physio treatment uses safe and non-invasive approaches to help reduce your sciatic nerve pain and symptoms. Since the most common causes of sciatica involve pressure being placed on your sciatic nerve by something, physiotherapy for sciatica focuses on reducing this pressure where possible, as well as helping to alleviate any muscle tension in the buttocks, legs and back associated with pain to help support mobility.

Your management plan may include hands-on care, mobilisation therapy and targeted exercises. Your plan will be carefully put together considering the underlying cause of your sciatica, as well as your pain levels, activity levels, work requirements, and your personal goals. 

For those undergoing surgery for more severe cases of sciatica such as those caused by bone spurs or disc herniations, your physiotherapist will work alongside you both before surgery to prepare you, as well as looking after you during your recovery to help you get the best outcomes and recover your mobility as quickly as possible.


Another big part of what physiotherapists do is educate their clients on sciatica, the triggers, what is likely to worsen your pain, as well as what you can do to help relieve your symptoms in your particular case. Sometimes, small changes to your daily routine like regular movement breaks from a desk job can play a large role in reducing the risk of pain in the future, as well as postural corrections at your desk. Once you have a good understanding of the effects of your sciatica on your body, you can make well-informed decisions about how to best care for your back in the future.

Get Physiotherapy Treatment For Sciatica Now, Pay Later

HealthNow is an intuitive app on your smartphone that is used to spread the cost of your physiotherapy appointments and any associated products purchased from the clinic over up to twelve weeks. This means you only pay a fraction of the total cost on the day you see your physio. The service is completely free for health consumers with no fees or interest. Your physiotherapist gets paid in full on the day, while you pay your bill off over the number of weeks you select at the time of purchase.

HealthNow also has a specifically-designed health wallet to put away money safely to cover the costs of any medical or health-related appointments, services and products, meaning that you can start putting money away now to help take the pressure off the expenses – particularly if you’ve been experiencing back aches or niggles. You choose the amount and frequency that you’d like to contribute, and others can also contribute to your health wallet, from family members who want to help you look after your health, to employers as part of employee wellness programs or as a much-desired alternative to restrictive private health insurance. Once the money is in your wallet, it’s yours in full to spend any time, on any health-related cost with HealthNow, and can be used for yourself or any other family member or loved one.

Get Started With HealthNow Today

Getting started with HealthNow is free and easy. Download the app and follow the instructions to set up your account. You can also check out HealthNow’s full benefits and features, and see how it can help ease some of the financial stress off your recovery from sciatica and back pain.


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