Sciatica and Back Pain Relief
Back pain comes in all shapes and sizes. It may be chronic, acute or sudden. Lower back pain is very common with age and can limit your daily activities. Physical Therapy can help with many different types of back pain. The first step is determining the cause of your pain.
The Relationship Between Back Pain and Sciatica
Sciatica is often caused by a herniated disk in the lower back. The vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. Round disks of connective tissues separate and cushion the vertebrae. If a disk gets injured or overused, it’s center can push out from the hard-outer ring. This is when the disk herniates. It puts pressure on the surrounding nerves and causes a lot of pain. The most characteristic sign of sciatica is that the pain runs from the lower back to the side or back of the legs. Other symptoms include sharp pain, tingling, and numbness in the leg. Keep in mind that the sciatic nerve is the longest in the human body. Any impingement of it can cause pain in the lower back, legs, and feet. Most people who get back pain and sciatica are between 30 to 50 years of age.
Some doctors refer to sciatica as radiculopathy. If it affects the lower back, it is referred to as lumbar radiculopathy. There are sets of paired nerve roots in the lower spine that combine to make the sciatic nerve. Radiculopathy occurs not only when there is compression of a nerve root due to a herniated disk, but it can occur due to a bone spur. In addition, compression of a nerve root can occur due to a bulging disk, trauma, spinal tumors and lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spine’s passageways become narrow causing nerve compression of the sciatic nerve. Trauma from sports or motor vehicle accidents can damage or compress the sciatic nerve.
How Physical Therapy Can Help Back Pain and Sciatica
The goals of any Physical Therapy treatment plan are to reduce pain, increase function and provide a maintenance program for back pain and sciatica. Typically, the treatment plan is comprised of two components-active exercises and passive modalities. The exercise regimen may consist of strengthening, stretching and aerobic conditioning. Core muscle training is also a part of a good lower back pain treatment plan. It’s important that these exercises are done properly and consistently.
All around, research has proven that Physical Therapy is effective for those who suffer from back pain or sciatica pain. It’s also safe. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly recommends it. “Physical Therapists partner with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals to manage pain, often reducing or eliminating the need for opioids. Research has shown that a simple education session with a Physical Therapist can lead to improved function, improved range of motion and decreased pain.”
Are you suffering from back pain or sciatica? Get relief with Physical Therapy. Contact Us Today at Pinellas Park & Seminole, FL Centers and learn more about how our Physical Therapists can help you get back to the things that are important to you.
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.