Sciatica and Physiotherapy

Sciatica is the pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed by the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord into the lower back. It goes down through the buttock, then its branches extend down the back of the leg to the ankle. The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back (lumbar area) to behind the thigh and can radiate down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. The pain of sciatica is sometimes also referred to as sciatic nerve pain.

Well! If you have Sciatica, your:

Bottom

Back of your legs

Feet and toes

May feel:

Painful – the pain may be stabbing, burning or shooting

Tingling – like pins and needles

Numb

Weak

What causes sciatica?

The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging or ruptured disc (herniated disc) in the spine pressing against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve.

In rare cases, sciatica can also be caused by conditions that do not involve the spine, such as tumors or pregnancy.

Sciatica also can be a symptom of other conditions that affect the spine, such as narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), bone spurs (small, bony growths that form along joints) caused by arthritis, or nerve root compression (pinched nerve) caused by injury.

Irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, muscle, internal bleeding, infections in or around the lumbar spine, injury, and other causes.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of sciatica include pain that begins in your back or buttock and moves down your leg and may move into your foot. Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur.

Sitting, standing for a long time, and movements that may cause the spine to flex for a longer period of time(such as knee-to-chest exercises) may make symptoms worse.

Walking, lying down, and movements that extend the spine (such as press-ups) may relieve symptoms.

How is sciatica diagnosed?

Sciatica is diagnosed with a medical history and physical exam. Sometimes X-rays and other tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are done to help find the cause of sciatica.

How is it treated?

In many cases, sciatica will improve and go away with time. Initial treatment usually focuses on medicines and Physiotherapy or Physical therapy to relieve pain. You can help relieve pain by

Incorporating a combination of strengthening, stretching exercises and aerobic conditioning are a central component of almost any sciatica treatment plan.

When patients engage in a regular program of gentle exercises, they can recover more quickly from sciatica pain and are less likely to have future episodes of pain.

It is very important that the patient is physically an active participant in therapy and can take responsibility in the treatment process.

One needs to get EXCLUSIVE exercise sessions from a physiotherapist.

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