This is a very common diagnosis, a lot of patients seek osteopathic treatment complaining of suffering from sciatica, but in fact this merely is acute lower back pain or piriformis syndrome.
Osteopaths, as musculo-skeletal specialists, help all patients suffering from sciatica, especially if it is by referring them to their GP or A&E.
Sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve, and will present with raging pain down the lower extremity all the way down to your foot. This is an unremitting, deep, boring type of pain. Ultimately this can lead to loss of strength in some of the leg muscles. Depending on the eatiology of the sciatica, especially if it is traumatic, you may require emergency surgery to prevent long term pressure on the sciatic nerve, and paralysis.
In cases where your sciatica is within the scope of what your osteopath is happy to deal with, the range of techniques he or she will use vary, but they are focused on decreasing the compression on the nerve root or the nerve itself, in order to restore optimum nerve function.