How Physiotherapy Can Help With Sciatica
The back pain associated with sciatica can be debilitating and cause serious impairment of strength and ability to function. While it is easy to understand what sciatica is, knowing the best path to recovery is entirely dependant on what is causing the pain to begin with.
A physiotherapist is not only qualified to diagnose sciatica, but he or she is also knowledgeable in the best treatment options. Before you turn to Google to help with your sciatic pain, find out more about what sciatica is and how a physiotherapist may be your best course for treatment.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a term that refers to the pain experienced due to issues with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from your lower back down the back of each leg.
The pain of sciatica typically affects only one side and travels from the lower back through the hips, buttocks, and legs. Sciatica is caused by injury or pressure on the sciatic nerve.
If you are suffering from sciatica, you will notice numbness, tingling, pins, and needles, weakness and pain (or a combination of these symptoms) along the path of the sciatic nerve. This condition can be debilitating and make moving around challenging and difficult.
Causes of Sciatica
Apart from injury and pressure on the sciatic nerve, sciatica may have more specific causes:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal cord in the lower back)
- Degenerative disc disease (the breakdown of discs)
- Spondylolisthesis (one vertebra slips forward over another)
- Muscle spasms in the back or buttocks
Since sciatica can be caused by a variety of issues, it is important to not self-diagnose sciatica and attempt at-home treatment.
While the symptoms of sciatica seem fairly precise, there are many other issues that can cause similar sensations in similar areas. Because of this, it is risky to self-diagnose sciatica based solely on the nature of the pain and its location.
If you are experiencing sciatica-type pain and proceed to engage in sciatica-specific exercises, you may end up worsening the problem and further damaging the true source of your pain.
The best way to determine if the pain you are experiencing is actually sciatica, and to receive the best possible treatment, is to speak with a physiotherapist.
Book an appointment with one of our professional or knowledgeable physiotherapists to discuss your sciatic pain.
Physiotherapy and Sciatica
The main objectives of a physiotherapist is to reduce pain, restore movement, strengthen weakened muscles and reduce tension. The only way a physiotherapist can achieve these goals is by diagnosing the nature of your sciatica in order to prepare appropriate therapies.
Treating sciatica depends entirely on the cause – one person’s course of treatment for sciatica may differ from another’s.
Treatment for Sciatica
The benefit of seeking help from a physiotherapist is that he or she has a repertoire of effective therapies that can be used to alleviate your pain and discomfort. They are trained to determine which therapy, or combination of therapies, is best suited for the nature of your sciatic pain.
A physiotherapist’s broad range of therapies for sciatica include:
- Mechanical traction
- Spinal manipulation
- Stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Low-impact aerobics
- Massage therapy
- Ultrasound and other electrical stimulation devices
At Home Treatment for Sciatica
Only after being seen by a physiotherapist should you begin at-home treatment for sciatica.
Your physiotherapist will recommend appropriate movement and stretching exercises you can practice at home to aid in healing your sciatic nerve.
They may also recommend alternating heat and cold on the source of the pain to reduce inflammation and discomfort.
InHome Physical Therapy and Massage offers flexible and mobile therapy services. Please contact us today to learn more about treatment options for sciatica.