Hi there, thought I would broadcast my recent successful diagnosis and physio with sciatic nerve incase anyone has a similar problem. Went to doctor because I had a pain that started from somewhere deep in the muscle in left buttock and pulsed down to my knee. It felt a little like cold water being poured inside my leg at the back. It had been bad enough to wake me at night/keep me awake. Went for physio which entailed trying to ascertain whether it was neural. Turned out that the sciatic nerve is trapped in the muscle, which is much better than trapped in vertebrae and why the pain wasn't worse. The muscles around the vertebrae are also tight and not helping. The exercises my physio gave me were:
1. Sitting on a level surface, pushed back so that the knee comes to the edge (probably a table) and with spine and head hunched over, hook toes up on one leg and lift to full extension at the same time as lifting head; 10 each leg, 2x daily if you can
2. With a foam roller lay on floor in crunch position with hands under knees. With a foam roller under the back at about the small of the back, rock backwards and forwards to massage the tight vertebrae; 10 one per day
3. Using a 'spikey ball' (same size as tennis, but rigid plastic with spikes) stand against wall with ball between offending buttock muscle and wall. Using small circular motions, massage the knotted muscle. As long as you like so long as you keep moving, I do it watching the news! Its fairly painful but the benefits are pretty instant
4. Single leg squats. As they sound, keeping straight over one leg and hook other leg out in front, squat down as close to the 90 degree position you can, WITHOUT the knee going over the foot (too much strain on the knee). If you need to steady yourself put a hand out on the wall. Its very important you keep the body weight back by pushing your bottom out here. 10 each leg, 2x per day
This has really helped me. If you have the pain as described above, you most likely have a sciatic nerve problem. If the pain is far worse, then its likely vertebrae and you will definitely need medical attention. The knock-on effect of the physio has been that I am walking straighter (I hadn't realised I wasn't) and feel much more full of energy. And, a mysterious pain in my right knee has disappeared ... as the song goes "the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone ..."