Have you ever experienced pain, numbness, and numbing pain that shoots from your buttocks area all the way down your leg? If so, you’ve experienced sciatica, and it’s a literal pain in the rear.” Sciatica is the name for nerve pain in the leg caused by the sciatic nerve’s irritation and/or compression, which is actually the largest single nerve in the body.
Symptoms of sciatica, as mentioned, include:
- Pain: Sciatica starts as shooting pain in the lower back and then radiates a burning sensation into the buttocks, then down the thigh (front or back), and sometimes all the way down to the foot. Interestingly, sciatica generally only affects one leg.
- Numbness: The numbness caused by sciatic nerve irritation and compression sort of mixes and mingles with the pain in the back of the leg, occasionally accompanied by tingling and/or weakness.
- Posture symptoms: This involves the same type of pain, but it can be worse when trying to stand up, sitting for periods, bending over, lying down, and even coughing.
So, what causes sciatica?
Causes of Sciatic Nerve Pain
According to spine-health.com, sciatica is the term used to describe the set of symptoms caused by an underlying medical condition; sciatica is not actually a condition or diagnosis. Some of those underlying conditions resulting in sciatica include herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis. In most cases, sciatica develops over time, not from a specific injury.
Most sciatica cases occur around the age of 40, and it’s generally due to risk factors like occupations that involve carrying heavy loads, driving for long periods, twisting of the bac, obesity, and long sedentary periods. A diagnosis of sciatica is usually determined through a physical exam by your physician or with an imaging evaluation such as an MRI, X-ray, or CT scan.
How Physical Therapy Can Treat Sciatica Pain
Similar to any other back pain, there are various options available for treatment. These include heat and ice treatments, over-the-counter and prescription pain medications, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, steroid injections, and physical therapy. Most of these can effectively alleviate the pain caused by sciatica. Of course, we at Physical Therapy NOW in Irving prefer…you guessed it…physical therapy!
Before seeking out physical therapy at our state-of-the-art Irving location, you’ll want the sharp pain to subside–after all, it’s not easy to get the most out of PT if you can barely move. Once you’re ready, you’ll sit with one of our experienced physical therapists to discuss your pain–from there, you’ll both develop a plan of attack that works specifically for you. Typical rehab includes muscle strengthening in your back and core, posture-correcting exercises, and stretches to help improve flexibility.
At Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we’ve seen our share of sciatica–and we know how to treat it effectively. Give us a call at (214) 225-0291 to set up your initial consultation with one of our physical therapists. From there, you’ll begin your PT plan so you can get back on your feet and enjoy pain-free activity once again!