Sciatica is one of the most common back pain complaints in the country. Yet few patients truly understand what sciatica is or what can be done at physical therapy to help relieve the persistent, often radiating pain down one or both hips.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is not itself a diagnosis, but rather a term used to describe a set of symptoms. The largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve travels from the lower back through the buttocks and down each leg to communicate messages to the muscles in both legs. Herniated discs in the spine, bone spurs, pinched nerves, or spinal damage can all compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain that often radiates through the buttocks and down one or both legs.
How Can I Relieve Sciatica?
As painful as sciatica can be, the first mistake most people make is deciding to limit their physical activity and try to self treat at home. Enlist the help of a physical therapist!
What you can expect at physical therapy?
Your physical therapist will develop an individualized plan of care for you which will include appropriately prescribed exercise! Strong core and back muscles improve posture and increase the body’s ability to hold the spine in its proper place. This, in turn, relieves a lot of sciatic nerve pain.
Yoga and Pilates are particularly useful for strengthening the muscles in the back and core. Walking and light weight training can also improve sciatic pain without compromising the integrity of the spine.
As alluring as it may be, resist the temptation to lay on your bed. Instead, opt for laying on the floor with a pillow beneath your knees. While it will not keep your body moving and improve your circulation, resting in such a position may offer temporary relief from a sciatica flare up.
Do not suffer at home alone call Elliott Physical Therapy to schedule an initial appointment and start feeling better and get back to the activities that you love. We have three locations in Dorchester 617-506-7210, Milton 617-696-8141 and North Attleboro 508-316-0559. We look forward to helping you!