Patients who suffer from Sciatica know how seriously debilitating the pain can be, but what is the most effective approach for treating this condition? Thankfully, physiotherapy offers a number of ways to go about it. In fact, treating the root cause of Sciatica requires a comprehensive approach centering around positive lifestyle changes which help to develop and strengthen good posture.
Let’s start by outlining exactly what sciatica is and how it happens, in order to not confuse it with another condition.
What is Sciatica?
Compressed Sciatic Nerve
Sciatica is caused by the compression of the Sciatic nerve in the lower back. The pain this compression causes can vary from a mild ache to hot, searing pain that stretches from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the back of the legs. The pain is often accompanied by a sensation of numbing in the legs.
Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body, so if you’re only experiencing pain through one half of your backside that’s a tell-tale sign.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica is most often the result of a herniated disk or narrowing of the spine, but it can also be caused by a misalignment of the spine or traumatic event such as a car accident or bad fall. Pregnancy-related pressure on the spine is a common cause as well, with tumours and problems with the piriformis muscle being far less common causes of Sciatica.
Lifestyle Habits That Can Lead To Sciatica
A number of personal habits can lead to a gradual compression of the Sciatic nerve, including:
-Sitting on a wallet every day
-Wearing a heavy tool belt
-Carrying a bag or purse on one shoulder
If you’re suffering from the symptoms described above, the first step is to consult your physiotherapist to properly diagnose the problem and rule out any serious underlying issues.
Early Diagnosis Leads To Better Results
The earlier you get a diagnosis the faster and more effectively it can be treated, so don’t delay seeing a physiotherapist if you’re in pain. If it turns out you are suffering from Sciatica, there are some specific actions you can take toward treating and finding relief.
Treatment Options For Sciatica
Occasionally a physiotherapist will refer patients to see a specialist for an MRI scan or possibly even surgery for advanced Sciatica, but in most cases, surgery is not necessary.
The treatment options we’re going to outline here are non-invasive, aiming to correct any imbalance that may be at the root of your pain.
1 – Posture Correction & Strengthening
The good news about Sciatica is that it is, for the most part, a temporary condition that arises from a postural imbalance caused by lifestyle habits – and these habits can be corrected. Treating Sciatica is all about forming new, healthier postural habits. Your physiotherapist will work with you to tailor a program of rehabilitating exercises and functional movements to stretch and strengthen your back and hips.
2 – Manual Therapy
Through mobilizations, traction, myofascial releases, a physiotherapist’s skilled hands can make subtle changes to the alignment, position, and movement of your spine in order to accelerate your recovery. This therapy can reduce or eliminate the pressure on the Sciatic nerve and give relief from pain and decreased movement.
3 – Trigger Point Releases
There are other alternatives to using pain medication to relieve Sciatica back pain, including regular muscle releases from a physiotherapist. Do you know those annoying, painful “knots” that are released when you get a nice deep-tissue massage? Those are known as “trigger points” in the myofascial system—a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds all of the organs in the body, the muscles and the spinal cord. When the myofascial system becomes restricted from injury or bad posture, the result is those pesky knots. Physiotherapy can release these knots, provide immense pain relief, and bring added flexibility to the spine.
4 – Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles stimulate and relax specific nerve pathways and relieve pressure points, reducing inflammation and restoring blood flow to bring relief from sciatica.
5 – Exercise
Your physiotherapist will compile a program of movements and exercise for you to practice, to complement your treatment sessions. Relief from Sciatica back pain largely comes from better movement habits, and a daily movement practice can be the catalyst that gives you back a life that’s free of sciatica pain.
How Long Does It Take To Fix Sciatica?
When it comes to Sciatica there is no quick fix, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a lasting condition. Most people who suffer from Sciatica pain and are undergoing guided physiotherapy find relief within 6-12 weeks. For some, it can take 3-6 months, and in rare cases, it may take up to a full year to fully free yourself of Sciatica.
Give Life Force Physiotherapy A Call If You Need Help With Sciatica
There’s a reason why physiotherapists see more Sciatica patients than general practitioners, surgeons, or any other health care professional – we know how to put together a program of treatment and movement that is effective at tackling the underlying issues leading to sciatic pain.
The quicker you act, the faster you can recover from that debilitating Sciatica pain. Why wait another day? Give us a call and let us help! 416-207-9395
* Please be aware that information on this web site is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding an injury or medical condition.