Lower back issues are something that many Americans are familiar with. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that a startling 80% of people in this country will have to deal with lower back pain at some point. Poor posture or lifting objects improperly lead to lower back pain, but your pain could also be coming from a spinal issue called sciatica. This condition has several common symptoms. These symptoms can benefit from specific sciatica treatment options offered by a physical therapist.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that tends to affect the lower back, and it can also affect the legs and feet. This condition occurs when a sciatic nerve root is pinched or irritated. The sciatic nerve has its roots in the lower spine, and it runs from there down the back of the leg to your feet, which makes it the longest nerve in the body.
What are two common sciatica symptoms?
People with sciatica tend to develop a unique set of symptoms. Often, the symptoms of sciatica can affect your ability to walk. It can also make other leg- and back-related tasks more difficult and painful. There are two symptoms in particular that are common when someone has sciatica:
- Pain — Sciatica tends to cause a very specific type of pain. The pain is often described as feeling like a sharp, burning sensation; it has also been described as feeling like an electric shock. Sciatica pain tends to radiate from the lower back, through one buttock and down one leg.
- Muscle weakness — The sciatic nerve carries movement signals from the brain to many lower body muscles, and sciatica can make it harder for the muscles to receive these signals. In turn, the signal interruption can lead to a weaker muscle response when you’re trying to walk or stand up from a chair.
Two treatment options physical therapists use for sciatica
Physical therapists offer many treatment methods that can help people with sciatica. Two of the treatment options these specialists can provide include:
- Spinal rehab — Typically, sciatica is the result of the lower spine being pulled out of its normal alignment. Physical therapists can help return the spine to its proper alignment, and this can reduce the symptoms of sciatica. Spinal rehab can also involve education about sciatica and how it can be prevented in the future.
- Active Release Technique® — Often, issues with muscles and other soft tissue that support the back can lead to sciatica, and physical therapists can use Active Release Technique® (ART) to help spine-supporting soft tissue. Physical therapists use their hands to perform ART movements. The more than 500 movements in this therapy technique can help stretch the soft tissue in your lower back, realign the spine and reduce sciatic nerve pinching.
Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help you find treatment for sciatica symptoms
Are you tired of living with the pain and other symptoms of sciatica? Our Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation team is ready to help you find effective treatment for your condition. We’ll start by having you come in for a complimentary screening. Then our team will build you a therapy plan that’s personalized to your needs.
Contact our team today for more information about sciatica or to schedule an initial appointment to start treating it.