Sciatica pain is the pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. This nerve weaves its way from your lower back, through your hips and buttocks, and then down both legs. The result is inflammation, pain, decreased reflexes in the leg and, at times, numbness and tingling in one or both legs.
There are a number of things that can cause sciatic pain. These include herniated discs, bone spurs, degenerative disc disease, stenosis, a compressed muscle in the hip and arthritis.
Prevention is the best medicine. Even though none of these come with a guarantee that you will not experience sciatica pain, each plays an important part in helping to reduce your chances. Prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle increase your odds of developing sciatica. When you are sitting, make sure to maintain proper posture. If you work long hours at a desk, set a timer to stand up a stretch or take a brisk walk around the office every hour. Add exercise to your regular routine and focus on your core muscles. Keep your back strong. Use proper form when lifting heavy items and ask for help.
Home remedies are an important part of self-care. The application of cold packs on the area at the onset of the pain followed by hot packs after a few days can be helpful, as can alternating between cold and hot packs. Light stretching can also help relieve the pressure on the nerve root.
Medications, both over the counter and prescribed, can help with pain management. Muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories can help manage the pain in order to get you moving again so that you can pursue more natural ways of healing. It is important to pair medication with other forms of treatment that will strengthen the muscles while improving stability and strength.
Physical therapy after the initial onset of pain can help prevent future injuries. The goal of the physical therapist is to help you reduce symptoms, alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve, heal the injured tissue, reduce inflammation, improve core stability and strength, restore function and get you on an exercise program you are able to maintain. Following your initial screening, our specialists will put together a personalized plan that may include manual therapy, noninvasive modalities, aquatic therapy, dry needling and therapeutic exercises.
Contact us today to learn more about physical therapy treatments for sciatica pain or for a complimentary initial appointment.