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Back Pain and Sciatica Relief

Have you been suffering from a chronic back problem for an extended period of time? Perhaps you’re not only suffering from back discomfort, but also other symptoms including numbness in your legs or pins and needles in your back.

Back pain and sciatica, which is a disorder of the sciatic nerve, can frequently be linked.

When symptoms like these occur, it’s perfectly natural to feel anxiety and annoyance — after all, no one wants to consider undergoing invasive, unpleasant, and potentially dangerous surgery in order to get pain relief but you might be concerned that you’ll have no choice if your pain continues.

There’s good news, though: The majority of back pain and sciatica can be treated with completely noninvasive and nonsurgical techniques such as the physical therapy we provide. To book an appointment with a qualified physical therapist, contact us now.

What are back pain and sciatica?

The physical therapy team is often asked to explain more about sciatica and back pain. Even though you may feel pretty well acquainted with the awful pain, you may not know exactly why it happens.

This information can be incredibly helpful as you move through your physical therapy program.

Your spine is the most important component of your back. The vertebrae, facet joints, discs, muscles, and connective tissues all work together to give you the support you need to move comfortably and efficiently.

However, as your physical therapist can tell you, it doesn’t take much for something to go very wrong, leaving you in need of physical therapy right away.

The back pain that leads you to physical therapy may be chronic (lasting for months or even years,) or it may be acute (short-term pain that has some kind of underlying issue like an accident or injury.)

No matter what kind of pain you’ve got, your physical therapist is here to help with a physical therapy program for pain relief.

Sciatica occurs when your sciatic nerve or the roots of your sciatic nerve, malfunctions or sustains damage. Your sciatic nerve is a huge nerve that’s responsible for relaying commands and impulses.

If your sciatic nerve gets pinched or otherwise damaged, it can’t continue to perform its job.

The result can be motor control issues in your leg, shooting pain down the leg, numbness in the leg or foot, or pins and needles feeling in the buttocks, leg, or foot.

As you’ll learn in physical therapy, relieving the other symptoms is just as important as relieving sciatica pain.

The Commonalities and Differences of Back Pain and Sciatica

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), back pain is the most prevalent type of pain in the United States.

Back pain affects one in four Americans, according to a 2015 study by the American Chiropractic Association. Back discomfort typically stems from an accident or a strain of the muscles, although it might sometimes be difficult to distinguish between general back discomfort and sciatica.

Sciatica is a kind of lower back pain that affects far more people than you might believe. It’s caused by irritation of the nerves, and it can be felt in the buttock, legs, or lower back.

Whether you’re experiencing general back discomfort or sciatica pain, our physical therapists are qualified and experienced in assisting you. Physical therapy treatments can sometimes eliminate the necessity for needful pain-management drugs like opioids, as well as invasive surgical procedures.

What’s the difference between back pain and sciatica?

Back pain

Back pain is any of the numerous diseases that may cause discomfort in the upper or lower back. Back discomfort can be caused by poor posture, vehicle accidents, and sports-related injuries.

Back pain can be acute or persistent, depending on the situation. It’s possible that your back pain is chronic.

Chronic pain is any type of pain that has been felt for three months or more on a regular basis. Chronic pain can be either persistent severe or dull agony, and it has been present for three months or longer. The discomfort you feel is usually centered in your back muscles or the joints in your spine.

Sciatica

Sciatica, a specific type of back pain, is typically reported as being very uncomfortable. The silver lining is that it is also easy to diagnose. People with sciatica suffer from pain along their sciatic nerve, which is the biggest nerve in the human body.

The sciatic nerve begins at the lower back, splitting at the base of the spine to extend down the buttocks, one or both legs, and to the foot.

Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes “pinched” or otherwise irritated in some way, thus resulting in a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.

Causes of back pain and sciatic nerve pain

There are a variety of causes of back pain and sciatic nerve pain. Your physical therapist will review the potential causes of pain with you when you’re starting your physical therapy program.

By knowing the causes, you can better tailor a physical therapy program for your needs, and your physical therapist can help you make lifestyle changes that may help.

Causes may include all of the following.

  • Weight gain, including pregnancy-related weight gain.
  • Degenerative disc disease that occurs due to aging. This can include osteoarthritis, as well.
  • A herniated disc, can occur after an accident or injury but can also occur over time
  • Auto accidents
  • Sports injuries

No matter what the reason for the back pain and sciatica, your physical therapist is here to help you feel better.

How physical therapy can help you heal from back pain and sciatica

Studies have demonstrated that physical therapy is clearly effective for back pain, and it’s also a great way to alleviate sciatica symptoms.

Your physical therapist can do a comprehensive evaluation so they can design a program that really works for you. Your evaluation takes the cause of pain, the type of pain, and your history all into account.

Treatment often includes various effective therapies such as corrective exercises, ice and heat therapy, and customized lifestyle recommendations.

You can take control of your pain today simply by calling our physical therapy team now. Get in touch to take your first step towards freedom from pain!

How do people develop back pain and sciatica?

General back pain typically develops from an injury. This can happen suddenly, or gradually over time. Back pain commonly develops from repetitive straining motions, such as bending down multiple times to pick up heavy boxes, or from sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident.

Back pain can also result from underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, which can lead to sciatica. Degenerative disc disease is another common culprit for back pain, which is typically caused by obesity or poor posture. Those who suffer from degenerative disc disease usually report feeling dull, aching, and chronic pain in their lower back.

Sciatica, also known as “lumbar radiculopathy,” is a little more difficult to understand. People who develop sciatica are typically between the ages of 30-50, and there are several different conditions that can lead to it.

Among the most common include arthritis, bone spurs, or any injury that affects the sciatic nerve.

Common injuries that cause sciatica development include sports-related collisions, harsh falls, herniated discs, or anything that occurs gradually over time through overuse, repetition, or general “wear and tear.”

How can I find relief?

Fortunately, both back pain and sciatica are easily treated with physical therapy. Our qualified physical therapists will first evaluate your condition before developing a treatment strategy that works best for you.

The primary phases of your treatment plan will focus on reducing discomfort, which may include anything from mild exercises to manual therapy to ice and heat treatments, as well as posture improvement

As you progress and improve, our physical therapist will expand on your exercises and stretches by making them more intensive over time. This will help increase your overall strength and range of motion.

If you are diagnosed with sciatica, specific leg stretches will be implemented into your treatment plan, in order to loosen up the sciatic nerve. The overall goal of physical therapy for back pain and sciatica is to alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and strengthen the body.

How do I know if my back pain is serious?

The pain you experience in your back may either be acute or chronic, depending on how it was sustained. Acute pain means that it lasts for a short time and is usually severe.

Chronic pain means that it lasts generally three months or longer and it can either cause dull or severe persistent pain. The pain you experience is typically either rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine.

If your pain is severe enough to hinder you from doing daily tasks, if it suddenly worsens, or if it has lasted longer than three months, then it is time to seek the help of a physical therapist.

How do I get relief from back pain?

You can treat your back pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can address back pain by helping to improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted massage to reduce tension.

In many situations, working with a physical therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain, and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.

What is the best physical therapy treatment for back pain?

Your physical therapist will design a treatment plan based on your specific needs. Your individualized treatment plan will incorporate the best methods possible for relieving your pain, facilitating the healing process, and restoring function and movement to the affected area(s) of your back.

Your initial appointment will consist of a comprehensive evaluation, which will help your physical therapist discover which forms of treatment will be best for the orthopedic, neurologic, or cardiovascular condition you are experiencing.

The main stages of your plan will focus on pain relief, which may include any combination of ice and heat therapies, manual therapy, posture improvement, targeted stretches, and exercises, or any other treatment that your physical therapist may deem fit. While there is no singular method for relieving back pain, your physical therapist will make sure you receive the best treatments for your needs.

How do you relieve back pain without drugs?

While medication is easy, it only helps your pain subside for a short amount of time. Over time, certain drugs can cause some unfavorable side effects, and in some cases, they can be habit-forming.

With NSAIDs, you run the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke. With corticosteroids, you run the risk of cataracts, high blood sugar levels, and bone loss. Luckily, there is a much safer and healthier alternative to treating persistent back pain: physical therapy.

At your initial consultation, your physical therapist will ask you several questions regarding your medical history, lifestyle, and painful area(s).

This information will assist your physical therapist in creating the best treatment plan for you and your specific needs, so you can be provided with long-term results.

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