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In this article we discuss sciatica, which is a painful condition to have – however maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing good posture, and engaging in regular exercise can help reduce the risk and promote spinal health.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a distressing sensation caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Those experiencing sciatica may encounter moderate to severe pain, as well as weakness or numbness in the back, buttocks, and legs[i]. Managing the pain can be achieved through various methods such as hot and cold compresses, stretching exercises and maintaining a regular exercise routine. We also highly recommend a course of treatment with the Bowen Technique.

Why do we get sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition commonly known by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, leading to pain and discomfort. It can be caused by various factors, including[ii]:

Herniated Disc – can happen when the gel-like centre of a spinal disc protrudes and presses on the nerve root, it can lead to sciatica.

Spinal Stenosis: This condition is seen when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the nerve roots, including the sciatic nerve.

Piriformis Syndrome: The piriformis muscle, can become tight or spasmodic, irritating the sciatic nerve that runs beneath.

Degenerative Disc Disease – this happens because discs in the spine naturally age and wear down, and sometimes they can lose cushioning and height, potentially causing nerve impingement.

Spondylolisthesis: This condition involves one vertebra slipping forward onto another, which can compress the nerve roots and cause sciatic pain.

Trauma or Injury: Accidents, falls, or sports injuries can lead to sciatica if they damage the spine or put pressure on the nerve.

Pregnancy: The weight and postural changes during pregnancy can sometimes cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.

What puts a person at risk for sciatica?

There are various components that can result in the development of sciatica[iii]:

Increased Age - As people age, the natural wear and tear on the spine can lead to conditions such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis, which are common causes of sciatica.

Jobs that involve heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or repetitive twisting motions can put strain on the spine and increase the risk of developing sciatica[iv].

Excess weight can put additional stress on the spine and increase chances of developing conditions that contribute to sciatica, such as herniated discs.

Lack of regular physical activity can weaken the muscles that support the spine, making it more susceptible to injury and compression of the sciatic nerve.

Diabetics - People with diabetes have an increased risk of nerve damage, including the sciatic nerve, which can lead to sciatica.

Genetics - Some people may have an inherited predisposition to developing conditions that contribute to sciatica, such as herniated discs or spinal abnormalities.

Smokers: Smoking can impair blood flow and nutrient delivery to the spinal discs, making them more prone to the risk of sciatica[v].

Dietary and supplement advice relevant to sciatica:


The intake of nutrients plays a role in supporting overall spinal health by reducing inflammation and promoting nerve function. Adequate intake of key nutrients can contribute to the prevention and management of conditions that cause sciatica.

Anti-inflammatory nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds and antioxidants, like those in colourful fruits and vegetables, may help to reduce inflammation and alleviating sciatic pain[vi].

Bone and disc health: Nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are essential for maintaining strong bones and spinal discs. Adequate intake of these nutrients can help prevent conditions like degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis that may contribute to sciatica[vii][viii].

Nerve health: Certain B vitamins, such as B12 and B6, are needed for good nerve health and function. Including food sources like lean meats, fish, whole grains, and legumes can support nerve health and potentially alleviate sciatica symptoms[ix].

Weight management: Excess weight can place additional stress on the spine and contribute to conditions like herniated discs, increasing the risk of sciatica. See our other articles for advice on healthy, holistic weight management[x][xi].


Terranova Magnesium Calcium 2:1 Complex: Magnesium helps regulate muscle contractions and can aid in reducing muscle tension and spasms, which are common symptoms associated with sciatica. Taking magnesium supplements might help relax the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve, potentially alleviating discomfort[xii][xiii].

Viridian Boswellia Resin: Boswellia resin has been suggested to have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It may act on pain pathways in the body, potentially reducing the intensity of sciatica-related pain[xiv][xv].

Hifas da Terra Reishi AntiOx Mushroom Powder Superfood: Reishi mushrooms contain bioactive compounds, such as triterpenes and polysaccharides, that have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is a common component of sciatica, and reducing inflammation may help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the condition[xvi].

Terranova Pro-Peptase IRC Complex: Serrapeptase has been found to break down fibrin, a protein involved in the formation of scar tissue and blood clots. Some proponents suggest that by breaking down fibrin, serrapeptase may help reduce the formation of scar tissue around the sciatic nerve and improve blood flow to the affected area, potentially relieving symptoms of sciatica[xvii].

A Vogel Hypericum: Due to its potential benefit is its analgesic properties, which have been traditionally associated with St. John's Wort. Some studies suggest that it may have a modulating effect on nerve pain, making it potentially helpful for managing the pain associated with sciatica. Additionally, St. John's Wort contains compounds like hypericin and hyperforin, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties in certain studies[xviii].

Pukka Turmeric Active: Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has been found to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a key component of many conditions that cause sciatica, such as nerve root compression or herniated discs. By reducing inflammation, turmeric may help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with sciatica[xix][xx].

Other favourites for sciatica:

Bathing Beauty Jones the Bones Muscle and Joint Oil and Bathing Beauty Jones the Bones Bath Salts - Bath salts and natural bathing products such as these can be used as part of a holistic approach to managing sciatica symptoms.

Lifestyle, exercise and sciatica

Although it may seem counteractive aue to the pain, exercise is important for sciatica prevention and recovery. As your pain decreases and your endurance improves, create an exercise regimen that includes aerobics, core stability, and strength training[xxi]. Endorphins released during exercise are also great pain killers[xxii].

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.