Sciatica & Back Pain Relief
Top 10 things you should know about lower back pain and sciatica
- You’re in good company; almost everyone has an episode of back pain or sciatica at some point in their life.
- Any tissue that has nerve endings can be a source of pain. In the lower back those tissues are nerves, the outer part of the disc, the facet joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments.
- Most episodes of lower back pain and sciatica can be reversed rapidly with appropriate treatment.
- People can be taught to relieve their own pain – even if there is a recurrence
- Bulging or herniated discs are the most common sources of back pain and sciatica for people aged 20-50.
- Most back pain is what we call “mechanical back pain”. This means that there are positions or activities which put more tension or pressure on the irritated tissue, and other positions that relieve the tension or pressure on the irritated tissue.
- The term “Sciatica” is just a word used to describe the distribution of pain down the back of the leg (along the pathway of the Sciatic nerve).
- Sciatica is caused 90% of the time by bulging or herniated discs.
- Pinched nerves in the back are easily diagnosed with only a clinical exam
- I’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands of people recover from back episodes. By coming to Essential Physical Therapy for help, you’re coming to an expert in the field.
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.
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.
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.
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.