Physiotherapy for Sciatica
Sciatica is a very painful condition caused by compression of the Sciatic nerve in the lower back. Pain from Sciatica starts in the lower back, traveling through the buttock and down the back and outside of each leg. Depending on the underlying reasons for your pain, physiotherapy can help to reduce inflammation, correct any misalignment in your hips or vertebrae, and rehabilitate your posture.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica pain can be caused by:
Herniation of a disk in your spine
Inflammation in the spine because of a disk bulge, may compress the sciatic nerve. Left untreated, bulging disks have the potential to herniate and cause more permanent damage, so it is important to have a full assessment early to determine the severity of the situation and take action to correct the issue.
Misalignment or Structural Issues in the Spine
When spinal structures are out of place (aka misalignment) or narrowed (aka spinal stenosis or degeneration), they can rub or irritate the root of the Sciatic nerve, causing inflammation and pain. Correctly identifying the structural issue is very important as the area where the lower back meets the hips is sensitive.
Do you sit on your wallet every day, wear a heavy tool belt or carry a bag on one shoulder while wearing heels? Any of these habits and more can lead to imbalance, misalignment and pain in the sciatic nerve.
Other Reasons for Sciatica
Sciatic pain can also be caused by trauma such as a fall or car accident, pregnancy-related hypermobility of the joints, spinal tumors or piriformis issues. As the causes are so varied and the area is so sensitive, professional assessment is important.
How Can Physiotherapy Help Sciatica?
The goals of physiotherapy for Sciatica include reducing inflammation and pain, correctly identifying the underlying cause, then bringing balance, movement, flexibility and relief to the area. Modalities used may vary from laser to massage to rehab exercises.
The Life Force Physiotherapy Approach to Treating Sciatica
A full assessment of the lower back, spine, hips, legs and feet is always carried out so that the underlying causes of your sciatic pain can be accurately pinpointed and an effective treatment plan can be tailored to your needs.
Posture Correction & Strengthening
Ongoing sciatica issues are often connected to an imbalance or injury in the spine or supporting muscles caused by movements and positions you use daily. Your Physiotherapist will help you to correct the issues with a comprehensive program of strengthening, stretching and rehabilitating exercises and functional movements.
TENS nerve stimulation
Depending on the underlying cause of your pain, your Physiotherapist may use TENS nerve stimulation to relieve sciatic pain. By placing electrodes on the skin, nerves near the source of your pain can be stimulated by small electrical signals, bringing effective relief of sciatica, often without the need for medication.
Massage, Trigger Point and Myofascial Release
Trigger Points are areas of shortened muscles which can contribute to referred pain or muscular imbalance. The myofascial system is a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds the brain, spinal cord, muscles, joints and all your organs. It can be restricted as a result of injury or poor posture. Physiotherapy can help to release these “knots” and restrictions and bring balance back to your spine.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into the top layers of the skin to stimulate specific points. It can help restore blood flow bring relief for many types of back pain including sciatica.
Physio Supervised Exercise Program
As you progress through your one-on-one physiotherapy treatment, we at Life Force Physiotherapy believe that a supervised work-out environment is crucial to help you ease safely into your self-directed exercise plan. Our physiotherapists will keep an eye on your movements so that you can feel confident that you’re staying on track.
Are you looking for advice for dealing with Sciatica? Please don’t hesitate to book an appointment with a Life Force physiotherapist to discuss your symptoms. We’re here to help!