If you’re dealing with back pain you’re not alone. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine back pain is so common that 8 out of 10 people will suffer from it. Treating back pain is challenging because a special approach is needed to obtain lasting results. Physical therapy is your most powerful weapon against back pain and sciatica because it gives genuine, long-term relief. Contact us today to get the low back pain and sciatica relief you need.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition involving damage to the sciatic nerve – the longest nerve in the human body, typically through compression or inflammation. Your sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and travels down each leg. Sciatic pain may follow this same route.
The main symptom of sciatica is lower back pain, but you may have other symptoms including numbness in the leg or an unpleasant tingling sensation in the foot.
Causes of Sciatica
The nerve damage that causes sciatica can occur in several different ways. One common cause are herniated discs, also known as a slipped disc. Disc herniation occurs when an intervertebral disc moves out of its normal place. When this happens between two of your lumbar vertebrae, it pushes on your sciatic nerve and causes sciatica symptoms like lower back pain.
While a herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica, there are other causes as well. These can include:
- Spinal stenosis: when your spinal canal narrows and compresses the sciatic nerve.
- Spondylolisthesis: when one of the vertebrae in your lower back slips out of place, it puts pressure on another vertebra and traps the sciatic nerve.
- Degenerative disc disease: more common in older adults, thinning of the intervertebral discs can result in disc and vertebral damage, and result in complications such as sciatica.
- Osteoarthritis: when you have osteoarthritis, severe inflammation of the spinal joints can cause enough swelling to irritate the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica.
How Physical Therapy Helps Sciatica and Low Back Pain
Research has repeatedly shown that physical therapy is a highly effective treatment for sciatica and other forms of lower back pain, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention specifically recommends physical therapy for non-invasive pain relief.
The reason physical therapy is such a powerful sciatica and lower back pain treatment is because it focuses on finding and correcting the pain at its source. This eliminates the underlying problem rather than treating the symptom. In contrast, taking medication to relieve the pain is temporary because it doesn’t fix the cause. After a few hours, you’ll need more medication when your symptoms return. With physical therapy, your back pain and sciatica symptoms will actually be cured, and you won’t need to take pain medication any longer.
When you visit us, your physical therapist will conduct a complete assessment to pinpoint the origin and underlying cause(s) of your pain. You will then receive a customized plan of action to effectively relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve, heal damaged tissue and alleviate the inflammation. You’ll also grow stronger, improve your range of motion, and take steps to prevent re-injury in the future.
Some of the treatments we use for sciatica and low back pain include:
- Joint mobilization
- Spinal traction
- Ultrasound therapy
- Electrical muscle stimulation
- Heat therapy
- Cold (ice) therapy
- Dry needling
- Prescribed strengthening exercises
- Neuromuscular re-education
- Therapeutic massage
These non-invasive physical therapy techniques are chosen by our expert team for two reasons: your individual, specific needs and the proven effectiveness of each technique. We use the best in evidence-based treatment to help you beat back & sciatica pain, both now and long term. Contact us anytime to start your journey to a pain free life!