Sciatica and Back Pain Relief
Back pain and sciatica are often related. Sciatica causes back pain, numbness and weakness that radiates along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is a big nerve that travels the full length of the body, following the lumbar region of the back and down the leg all the way to the feet. Pain begins in the lower back and typically travels to the buttocks and leg. Sciatica pain is sharp and searing. Most sciatica symptoms are a direct result of lower back abnormalities between the L4 and S1. Pressure is usually put upon the lumbar nerve root. It is important to note that sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem. It is not a diagnosis in itself.
Causes of Sciatica
There can be a variety of root causes of sciatica, such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, facet joint dysfunction, osteoarthritis and more. The center of a lumbar disc is filled with a jelly-like substance that can break through the outer layer and press on a nearby nerve root. This nerve compression can cause nerve root pain in the back. Keep in mind that the disc walls are abundant with nerve fibers. Any tear through the wall can cause severe pain. As people age, the lumbar discs lose hydration and wear down. There is no cushion for any impact. Tears can also develop and cause pain. This condition is known as degenerative disc disease.
Facet joint dysfunction can also cause back pain and sciatica. If the cartilage of these joints is damaged or not functioning properly, the end result can be back pain or sciatica. Osteoarthritis is associated with aging. It is a condition that gradually progresses. The discs and facet joints are worn down. It causes back pain, swelling and instability. Any trauma or compression fracture can result in sciatica, such as a car accident or a fall.
Physical Therapy Services
A physical therapist uses many techniques and forms of treatment to help eliminate sciatica. Treatment may include mobilizations, McKenzie-based therapy, manual therapy, spinal stabilization, core strengthening exercises, traction or nerve glides. These are active types of physical therapy treatment. Passive types of physical therapy treatment include ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, massage, cold laser and heat or ice therapy. Deep tissue massage targets muscle tension that may be compressing the sciatic nerve. Ultrasound treatment sends sound waves into muscle tissues to increase circulation and reduce pain, swelling and muscle spasms. Hot and cold therapies bring more oxygen to the affected area and help reduce spasms that may be causing both back pain and sciatica pain.
The goal of physical therapists is to help manage and eliminate pain from sciatica, improve flexibility, improve range of motion and restore the patient back to normal function. Relief for lower back pain is on the way with the help of a physical therapist. In many cases physical therapy, will result in effective and long lasting sciatica pain relief and back pain relief. It’s an effective treatment rather than drugs or surgery. Get back pain relief today with the help of a physical therapist.
For more information, Contact us at Chesterfield, Midlothian & Richmond, VA Centers.
The pain you experience in your back may either be acute or chronic, depending on how it was sustained. Acute pain means that it lasts for a short time and is usually severe. Chronic pain means that it lasts generally three months or longer and it can either cause dull or severe persistent pain. The pain you experience is typically either rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine. If your pain is severe enough to hinder you from doing daily tasks, if it suddenly worsens, or if it has lasted longer than three months, then it is time to seek the help of a physical therapist.
You can treat your back pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can address back pain by helping to improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted massage to reduce tension. In many situations, working with a physical therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain, and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.
Your physical therapist will design a treatment plan based on your specific needs. Your individualized treatment plan will incorporate the best methods possible for relieving your pain, facilitating the healing process, and restoring function and movement to the affected area(s) of your back. Your initial appointment will consist of a comprehensive evaluation, which will help your physical therapist discover which forms of treatment will be best for the orthopedic, neurologic, or cardiovascular condition you are experiencing. The main stages of your plan will focus on pain relief, which may include any combination of ice and heat therapies, manual therapy, posture improvement, targeted stretches and exercises, or any other treatment that your physical therapist may deem fit. While there is no singular method for relieving back pain, your physical therapist will make sure you receive the best treatments for your needs.
While medication is easy, it only helps your pain subside for a short amount of time. Over time, certain drugs can cause some unfavorable side effects, and in some cases, they can be habit-forming. With NSAIDs, you run the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. With corticosteroids, you run the risk of cataracts, high blood sugar levels, and bone loss. Luckily, there is a much safer and healthier alternative to treating persistent back pain: physical therapy. At your initial consultation, your physical therapist will ask you several questions regarding your medical history, lifestyle, and painful area(s). This information will assist your physical therapist in creating the best treatment plan for you and your specific needs, so you can be provided with long-term results.