Sciatica is a term that describes pain that travels down the sciatica nerve, which runs from the lower back, hips, posterior, and both legs. This pain and discomfort often stem from disc herniation that causes inflammation and numbness in the lower back and legs. Even though sciatica pain can be excruciating, most occurrences resolve within a couple weeks of treatment. However, individuals with severe sciatica, weakness in their legs, and changes in bladder or bowel movements may undergo surgical treatment. With that said, the level of pain, discomfort, and symptoms will vary between patients depending on the nature and scope of the injury itself.
Our True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness physiotherapists have substantial experience working with patients suffering from sciatica pain. Our staff is dedicated to providing patients with the highest level of care possible so that they can heal from their lower back injuries in a comfortable and encouraging environment. True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness creates treatment plans unique to each patient’s objectives and needs, so they can get back to living a pain-free lifestyle as quickly as possible.
Are you experiencing sciatic pain? If so, book your initial consultation with the physiotherapy team at True Life Physiotherapist & Wellness to begin your journey to better health today.
What are the symptoms of sciatica?
Sciatica pain can vary in severity and frequency depending on the gravity of the injury that is causing this type of discomfort. However, in general, this type of pain is typically experienced throughout the lower back, buttocks, and legs. If you are someone who often experiences lower back pain and discomfort due to other injuries or chronic health issues, recognizing the symptoms of sciatica can be confusing. As such, the following are some of the first symptoms you may notice:
- Backache in the lower back
- Back or leg pain that intensifies when sitting down
- A tingling or burning sensation down your legs
- Leg or foot weakness and numbness
- A lack of mobility
- Persistent pain on one side of your back
- A shooting pain in your lower extremities that makes standing challenging.
Mild symptoms of sciatica pain can alleviate on their own. However, if the pain persists, it is imperative that you seek assistance from a medical professional as soon as possible. Early intervention is critical in any injury to ensure patients recover fully and in a safe manner. With that said, it is never too late to seek medical assistance if your symptoms persist for longer than a week. Furthermore, if you experience any of the subsequent symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention:
- Back or spine swelling or discoloration
- Aches that spread down through your legs
- Weakness or numbness in your legs, pelvis, hips, or buttocks
- Blood in your urine
- A burning sensation when you urinate
- Severe pain that makes you immobile
- Difficulties controlling your bladder or bowel movements
What are the causes of sciatica?
Sciatica pain happens when the sciatic nerve is squeezed or damaged. This nerve begins in the lower back along the spinal column and travels down the back of each leg, including your hips and buttocks area. This nerve is responsible for the muscles behind your knees and your lower leg regions. In addition, the sciatica nerve is also in charge of providing sensation to the outer part of your legs and the soles of your feet. This compression or damage often occurs from the following injuries and chronic medical conditions:
- A herniated disc that has slipped
- Stenosis of the spine
- Piriformis syndrome, a medical disorder involving the narrow muscle in the buttocks
- Pelvic fracture or injury
- Tumors along the spinal column
- Degenerative disc disease
Furthermore, while sciatica pain is experienced by both men and women of all ages, there are certain risk factors that can make an individual more prone to suffering this type of injury. Here is a closer look at some of these risk factors:
- Working in a physically demanding occupation
- Having to regularly bend, turn, or lift large items
- You are over the age of 30
- Excessive weight can put strain on your lower vertebrate
- It is believed that smoking reduces the oxygen supply in your discs, causing early deterioration and wear.
- You have experienced physical trauma, including a car accident, fractured pelvis, or fall
- Some genetic factors can predispose people to herniated discs
- You spend several hours each week in high heels.
- You do not exercise regularly
- Your mattress is too soft or too stiff
Why is physical therapy beneficial for people with sciatica?
Physical therapy is often prescribed to patients suffering from sciatica pain as the variety of treatments and therapies employed by a licensed and experienced physiotherapist can aid in reducing inflammation and discomfort. It is also beneficial to patients as it can improve their mobility while preventing the recurrence of symptoms in the future so they can get back to enjoying a pain-free lifestyle as quickly as possible.
With that being said, it is important to note that while physiotherapy is highly beneficial for patients suffering from sciatica pain, patients must understand that their commitment to treatment will also determine their results. Accordingly, if your physiotherapist provides both in-clinic and at-home exercises and stretches, patients must devote a little time each day to ensure their progress remains on track and regression does not occur.
Which physiotherapy is best for sciatica?
When diagnosed with sciatica by a medical professional, they will often prescribe physiotherapy for patients as a part of their treatment plan. As such, when patients seek aid from a physiotherapist during their initial consultation, their treatment provider will conduct a thorough physical exam to determine the range and severity of the pain and symptoms the patient is experiencing. With this information, your physiotherapist will be able to create a customized treatment plan that tailors to your unique needs as a patient. Further, throughout the course of your treatment, your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your progress and make adjustments according to your progress.
With that said, some common treatments your physiotherapy may administer to aid sciatica pain include:
- Spinal manipulation and mobilization: These are strategies in which physiotherapists apply a monitored force to a joint along your spinal column using their hands or a tool.
- Manual therapy, including joint and tissue release: This technique involves applying deep pressure using the hands to break up restrictive muscle fibers, relax muscular tension, and drain fluids that induce inflammation and pain in the body tissue.
- Posture correction: A variety of stretches and exercises will help patients become more conscious when maintaining perfect alignment to reduce pain and discomfort in the lower back.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture helps stimulate the points along the central nervous system using thin needles that are strategically placed throughout the body to release tension and inflammation.
- Dry Needling: Dry needling is used to treat muscle tissue with the goal of reducing pain by deactivating trigger points throughout the body and restoring function.
- Electrotherapy: Electrotherapy is a treatment that involves applying electrical stimulation to the muscles and nerves using electro-pads that are placed on the skin in order to increase blood flow, stimulate muscles, and reduce inflammation.
- Mechanical Traction: The use of devices to stretch the spinal cord safely.
- Hot and cold therapy: Applying ice to an injury helps reduce inflammation and swelling. This is followed by heat which helps soothe soreness with the goal of improving mobility in the desired area.
- Hydrotherapy: Involves water aerobics to improve mobility and release tension in the muscles to reduce pain.
- Light exercises and stretches: A variety of strength exercises and stretches will help improve the patient’s mobility and flexibility while repairing nerve function along the spinal column to help with pain and prevention of future injuries.
Furthermore, with these various therapies and treatments, the overall goal is to:
- Reestablish a pain-free range of motion
- Decrease muscle spasms in the lower spine, posterior, leg, hip, and thigh area
- Restore the function of the lumbar region and the sacroiliac joints.
- Improvement in lower body mobility and flexibility
- Encourage neurological adjustments to decrease the perception of pain in the body.
- Decrease the patient’s fear of motion
- Prevent future pain and flare-ups
Book Your Appointment with True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness Today
Have you been suffering from what you believe is sciatica pain? If this is the case, the True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness professional physiotherapy team are available to assist you. Our physiotherapists have many years of working experience and are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to provide patients with the best possible care. You can be self-assured that your well-being and physical health are in good hands when you partner with True Life. True Life Physiotherapy and Wellness remains committed to providing quality treatments and therapies in a welcoming, comfortable environment for all patients and can assist you in returning to your normal activities pain-free.
Contact True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness today to make an appointment with one of our courteous front-of-house staff members.
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