The term sciatica describes sciatic nerve irritation. Irritation of sciatic nerve causes pain, whose intensity may range from mild to severe. In most cases, sciatica is due to a compression of the nerve in the lower spine.
Many people confuse sciatica with general back pain. It is important to note that sciatica is not limited to the back. The sciatic nerve is the body’s longest and widest nerve. It starts from the lower back region, running through the buttocks down to the legs, ending just below the knee.
Sciatic nerve regulates several muscles in the lower part of your leg and also transmits sensory impulses to the skin of your foot and most of your lower leg. Sciatica is not a disease condition on its own, rather, it is a symptom of another disorder involving the sciatic nerve. It is believed that at least 40% of people may experience sciatica at some point in their life.
SYMPTOMS OF SCIATICA
The major symptom of sciatica is a sharp pain at any point along the sciatic nerve; from the lower part of the back, through the buttock and to the back of either leg.
Sciatica also has other symptoms such as:
- Numbness in the leg
- A tingling sensation in the toes and feet
The severity of the pain varies. Prolonged sitting can aggravate the pain.
HOW IS SCIATICA TREATED?
We will examine treatment for the acute and chronic forms of sciatica
Acute sciatica responds positively to lifestyle modification and self-care techniques including:
- Ibuprofen and other OTC painkillers.
- Exercises like light stretching and walking.
- Hot compression or cold compression packs to minimize pain.
Some painkillers are contraindicated in certain individuals. You should discuss with physical therapists at Sports Physical Therapy Clinic before you start taking any painkiller.
Treatment for chronic sciatica
To treat chronic sciatica efficiently, you’ll need a combination of medical treatment and self-care measures:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy
You may undergo surgery if your symptoms have not been relieved by other treatments. Surgical treatment for sciatica include:
- Discectomy: removal of a herniated disc (whether partial or total)
- Lumbar laminectomy: The spinal cord is widened in the lower back to lessen the pressure on the nerves.
Depending on what’s causing your sciatica, a physical therapist in Lewiston, ID will evaluate the risks and benefits of a particular surgical technique before deciding on any.
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR SCIATICA
Do you want to get relief from the leg and back pain caused by sciatica? Well, physical therapists in Clarkston, WA can guide you on poses that will help you to deal with sciatica. These include:
- Pigeon pose (reclining)
- Pigeon pose (sitting)
- Sitting spinal stretch
- Knees to the opposite shoulder
- Standing hamstring stretch