Many people have heard of sciatica and the sciatic nerve, but aren’t exactly sure what the terms refer to. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and runs downwards through the buttocks and hamstrings before continuing into your lower legs. The sciatic nerve is actually the body’s longest nerve and it can often cause pain when it is pressured or pinched, which is known as sciatica.
Sciatica is most commonly caused when a herniated disc places pressure on the nerve, but it can also be triggered by inflammation of joints as well as a locked facet joint in your lower back or compression of the sciatic nerve by bony arthritic growths. There are several other causes of sciatica, such as spine degeneration, a traumatic injury, spinal stenosis, Piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac dysfunction, and spondylolisthesis.
No matter what’s causing your sciatica, our team at Spectrum Physiotherapy has the experience to help relieve the pain. Patients usually know when they’re suffering from it since they usually feel pain in the lower back and buttock which often spreads down the back of the leg and possibly into the calf and/or foot. The pain could be sharp, burning, aching or dull and it may cause muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in your leg. If you suffer from any of these symptoms it’s recommended that you seek medical help as soon as possible to have it diagnosed and treated.
At Spectrum Physiotherapy of Newmarket, we’ll be able to diagnosis the problem via a thorough physical examination and determine how serious it is. Our physiotherapist will examine your legs and spine and test you for altered reflexes, sensation deficits, and muscle weakness. The examination will help the physiotherapist confirm that the pain isn’t being caused by something more serious such as cancer, infection or a fractured bone. Our physiotherapist could send you for an X-ray, CT scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to get a better look at your spinal vertebrae.
Sciatica Physiotherapy Treatment
At Spectrum Physiotherapy we’ll be able to help alleviate the sciatica pain by managing the inflammation. This will help to restore your strength, range of motion, posture and flexibility to your normal levels. The physiotherapy treatment will typically include an exercise program and possibly ice packs and heat, ultrasound, hydrotherapy, and swimming. We want to make sure you can return to your daily activities without feeling any pain and are aware of how to actively prevent sciatica from returning. The problem does sometimes return if the rehabilitation process is insufficient and this is why exercise is so important.
In extreme cases of sciatica, surgery is sometimes required when all other treatments have failed to relieve the pain. However, sciatica typically eases following the right amount of rest and rehabilitation procedures. Your therapist may also suggest pain-relieving methods such as wearing a short-term back brace, massage therapy, acupuncture, an electronic TENS Machine, shockwave therapy and/or posture supports. It’s important to have symptoms of sciatica diagnosed as soon as you feel them to find out what the root of the problem is. At Spectrum Physiotherapy we’ll be able to diagnosis the cause of your pain and help you on the road to recovery by prescribing the most beneficial treatment program as well as stretching and strengthening exercises which can be carried out at home. As well as treating your sciatica the therapist will also be able to advise you on how to prevent it through exercise and good posture habits.