What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the symptom of pain down the leg that people may experience typically due to an issue in the lower back. The sciatic nerve starts at the low back and runs down the buttock and then branches out through the back of the leg down to the foot. There are many reasons for why the sciatic nerve may begin to cause pain or discomfort. Common problems resulting in sciatica may include a herniated disc, stenosis or narrowing of the nerve space, tightness in the hip, or misalignment of the pelvis. Sciatica symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, cramping, burning, and weakness in the muscles of the involved leg.
How does Physical Therapy help?
Physical Therapists have many techniques/forms of treatment that may help. Treatments may vary depending on the presentation of pain. They may include McKenzie-based mechanical diagnosis and therapy, muscle energy techniques, mobilizations, spinal stabilization and core strengthening exercises, nerve slides/glides, or even traction. Often people will respond by moving in certain directions.
Movement is critical because this is what helps exchange fluids and nutrients within your spinal discs, keeping them healthy, and preventing pressure from recurring on your sciatic nerve.
The key takeaway here is that while it may seem counterintuitive, prescribed exercises from a physical therapist are a far better route than bed rest in the pursuit of relieving sciatica pain. Of course, if you have a flare-up of pain, take a day or two to rest. Being inactive for a period any longer than that and you risk making the pain worse.
If you suffer from sciatica pain, please contact our office to be seen by one of our highly skilled physical therapists. We would love to help you get back to living the life you love.