physiotherapist working on patients back

How Physiotherapy Can Help With Sciatica

Leg pain has various symptoms classified under the heading of sciatica. The symptoms like weakness, tingling, and numbness start in the lower back and trickle down following the sciatic nerve in the back of the legs.

The more common symptoms of sciatica are:

  • Pain that starts from the lower back and travels down the back of the legs.
  • Chronic pain on one side of the leg or buttock.
  • Weakness, numbness and prickling sensations on the leg.
  • Reduction of pain while laying down that returns when standing.
  • Sharp searing leg pain.
  • Shooting pains in one leg.
  • Weakness and numbness in the foot or leg.
  • Pain in toes.
  • Muted lower back pain.

Here at Ultimate Health Clinic we talk about how in some cases, any sudden movements like a change in position, standing or even coughing may cause the pain to intensify. There are also varying degrees of pain ranging from moderately painful to incapacitating. The location of the pinched nerve is where most serious symptoms originate from. Permanent damage to the sciatic nerve is rare, as is spinal cord involvement.

Facts about the Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica

Of all the nerves in your body, the sciatic nerve is the largest. This nerve has several distinct roots that branch out from the spine. These combined create what is referred to as the sciatic nerve. When the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, irritated or compressed near the base, symptoms of sciatica will ensue.

The sciatic nerve starts at the L3 lumbar segment in the lower back. As you travel further down the spine, there is a nerve root that branches out from the spinal canal. These roots form the sciatic nerve. The length of the root advances all the way down the back of the legs. Some parts of the root can be found in the toes, foot, calf, and thigh. There are several lower back problems that often result in sciatica. The following are the most common:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Isthmic spondylolisthesis
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Diagnosing sciatica is simple, but detecting what has caused the condition requires detailed testing and investigation. Our physiotherapy specialist will perform an examination of your legs and spine to ascertain which part of your nerve is pinched and its severity. If you have lower back pain that radiates to your legs, you will be assessed further. This is to determine if there is any muscle weakness or altered leg and foot reflexes.

Treating Sciatica

The first step in treating sciatica is pain management. Most people only seek treatment for sciatica after the symptoms have become unbearable. Your treatment plan will include ways to reduce inflammation and lessen the pain.

The second step once the pain and inflammation have been regulated is to restore range of motion. A physiotherapist will work with you to help reduce resting muscle tension, improve lower limb flexibility, and restore posture and lower back range of motion. This can be achieved through guided exercises or solitary exercises.

The third step is getting back to living your life normally. There are different treatment goals for each person depending on their specific symptoms and their severity. Working closely with a physiotherapist will ensure your rehabilitation progresses properly.

Sciatica Recurrence

Sciatica often returns even after successful treatment. In most cases the cause of recurrence is due to incomplete rehabilitation. Learning how to self-manage through proven techniques can help. A physiotherapist at Ultimate Health Clinic can assist you in reducing your pain and increasing your mobility to help you return to your normal activities safely, so call us today at 905-251-0162.

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