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How Effective is Physical Therapy for Sciatica

Physical Therapy for Sciatica

As much as 80 percent of the population might have back pain at some point in their lives. There are many kinds of back pain, and it might happen right after an injury, or it could develop more slowly. It could be sudden and only last a short while, or it could be more chronic. You could use over-the-counter medications in some cases, but they do not always work. You might need to have surgery or more powerful drugs in other cases.

It might be challenging to pinpoint the source of the discomfort. Still, issues such as sciatica are often easy to identify. While home remedies can reduce some of the pain, you might benefit from sciatica physical therapy. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect.

What Is Sciatica?

Often, the condition begins with herniated disks in the lower spine. The vertebrae are small bones that form the backbone, and there is the tissue between them to cushion them. However, the disks can begin to wear down because of use or an injury, causing the center to push outward. That is a herniation, and it can press on the surrounding nerves. That causes pain, which is often on your sciatic nerve.

That is the biggest nerve in your body, and it begins in the lower portion of the back. Then, it splits and moves through each hip, buttock, and leg. If you have spinal stenosis or bone spurs, you might also have pressure on that nerve. Then, you will have issues going down that nerve.

How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?

Before getting physical therapy for sciatica nerve pain, you need a diagnosis from a doctor. Some of the most common symptoms include pain radiating from the lower back to the leg’s side or end. It might be a simple ache or severe, sharp pain. You might notice weakness, numbness, and tingling in the leg.

How Physical Therapy Can Help with Sciatica

There are several advantages of getting physical therapy treatment for sciatica. For example, it can help the underlying cause heal and offer relief from the symptoms. It also reduces the number of potential flareups.

You can get physical therapy from several types of healthcare professionals, including physical medicine rehabilitation physicians (PM&R) and physical therapists. A physical therapist offers manual treatment, rehabilitation, and exercise programs to reduce lower back pain. The end goal is to help you move without pain and reduce pain in the backs, thighs, legs, and buttocks.

If you also have muscle spasms, the treatment might reduce the number and intensity of them. It can help your lower body become more mobile, and it might restore the function of various parts of the body. That includes your joints and lower spine.

What Types of Exercise Help with Sciatica?

Your therapist might recommend a range of sciatica physical therapy exercises. But before trying any of them, make sure you talk to the doctor to ensure they are the right exercises for you. For a nerve stretch, begin by lying on your back. Now, bring the knees toward your chest and put your arms around them. Hold that for several seconds and then relax one leg and bend your other knee toward your chest. Now, pull that leg toward your chest. You can do that a few times on each leg.

Another type of physical therapy for sciatica involves a leg raise. You can stretch the sore leg while sitting by putting the heel on the floor with the toes pointed upward. Next, raise your leg as high as you can. However, if it causes pain, you should avoid lifting it too much. Now, return your leg to a regular seated location and try to relax. You can repeat the exercise on the other side with the leg that is not in pain. Ensure you talk to your doctor before performing any of these exercises.

What to Do If You Have Symptoms of Sciatica

If you think you might have sciatica, it is best to make an appointment with your sciatica doctor. They can perform a physical exam to determine the cause of your symptoms. Even if you have recovered from sciatica in the past, it can come back, particularly if you have a chronic condition.

It would be best if you made some lifestyle changes to prevent the pain in the future. Otherwise, it might come back. You can still expect it to clear up in a couple of months once you begin the treatment.

Closing Thoughts

Having sciatica is not pleasant. The good news is physical therapy for sciatica might improve your symptoms. The physical therapist can show you the best exercises to do at home, so you can continue to improve your symptoms.

If you have sciatica pain, don’t delay. The sooner you begin your treatment, the faster you will enjoy relief from pain and discomfort.

Call 1-800-897-8440 to find an experienced physical therapist near you and get on the road to recovery!