Sciatica pain can be quite debilitating and interrupt your daily life. This pain occurs in the lower back region all the way through the hips and down the leg. Sciatic pain is caused by the inflammation of the sciatic nerve for some reason. Proper diagnosis is required to understand why the sciatic nerve is inflamed.
If left untreated sciatic pain could worsen and lead to more serious problems. In this article, we will discuss sciatic pain and how physiotherapy can help deal with it.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is referred to the pain which occurs due to inflamed sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts from the lower back to the hips and all the way down to the legs. This pain commonly occurs on one side and can also be felt in the feet and toes.
Causes of Sciatic Pain
Here are some reasons why the sciatic nerve can become inflamed:
Disc problems are the major reason for sciatica pain. A herniated disc is a part of the disc nucleus that is pushed out of the annulus through a tear into the spinal canal. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves causing severe pain.
Degenerative disc disease
Degenerative disc disease is when certain changes taking place in the discs of the spine causes pain. With aging these discs can show signs of wear and tear. The areas of the spine that go through most pressure and stress are more likely to disc degeneration.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
This occurs due to the narrowing of the spinal canal that can squeeze and irritate the nerves. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or the or the nerves that go from spinal cord to the muscles.
The hamstring muscle runs along the sciatic nerve down the back of the thigh. A hamstring injury may impact the sciatic nerve making it unable to move or stretch.
Weight gain or obesity can put pressure on the spine which can trigger sciatica.
Sitting for long hours or having a sedentary lifestyle can increase the chances of sciatica.
Carrying heavy weights, driving a vehicle for long periods or twisting the back may cause sciatica pain.
This condition increases the risk of nerve damage.
If you are experiencing sciatica pain, then it is important to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Many people often recover from sciatica pain without any treatment, however in severe cases it can cause permanent nerve damage. Hence seek immediate medical attention if you experience numbness and weakness affecting your leg, or loss of bowel and bladder functions.
Physiotherapy can help treat sciatica without medication or surgery. It also helps you deal with the pain in the long-term. With a proper treatment plan and the right advice from a physiotherapist you can ensure that this pain does not return in the future. Often patients experience excruciating pain in which case physiotherapists will use treatments like acupuncture or gentle mobilization that can help reduce the pressure on the nerve or spine.
Physiotherapy treatment can help the patients manage their pain, reduce pressure in the lower spine, buttock, and leg. Physiotherapists will also guide a patient to maintain a healthy lifestyle that reduces the chances of the pain coming back.
Here are some physiotherapy treatments that are used to help deal with sciatica pain:
- Massage therapy
- Stretching exercises that relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve
- Strengthening exercises to build a strong core that can help support the spine
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Mechanical traction
- Spinal manipulation
In addition to these treatments a physiotherapist will also educate the patient on how to minimize putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.
It is always better to be proactive and take care of your health to reduce the chances of sciatica. Preventing sciatica may not always be possible, however maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you bounce back and reduce severe conditions.
Here are some ways that can help you protect your spine.
- Regular exercise can help you strengthen your core which can support your spine. It can also help you maintain proper posture and balance. Moreover, exercise can enable you to maintain a healthy body weight which prevents pressure on the spine.
- Maintaining a proper posture when you sit is important as it can prevent any injury to your spine.
- Avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time. Taking short breaks can be helpful.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects alone. If you are lifting, ensure that you move straight up and down and avoid any twisting motion.
Sciatica can be painful and in some cases it can become severe. It is important to get help if the symptoms worsen. Physical therapy can make a big difference and help you deal with pain in the right way. It can reduce pain, restore movement, and strengthen your muscles. You can also make healthy lifestyle changes that can help you recover from this pain and maintain overall health.
You can book a physiotherapy appointment with us here.