Back Pain & Sciatica Relief
Do you wake up in the morning with that nagging back pain? Are you feeling achy pain into your back, buttock, or even thigh? Are you having to watch what you do, because you are afraid you may hurt your back?
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, back pain is the most commonly reported pain across the nation, and one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months.
Back pain and sciatica differ but are often confused with each other. Back is specific to the upper, mid or low back. Sciatica is a more diffuse, radiating pain down the buttock, thigh, and even leg. It is also possible to have radiculopathy, which is a radiating numbness, tingling, burning, or sharp pain to a specific part of the leg. This is often associated with a herniated disc, or entrapment of the nerve of that area, as it exits the spine.
If you searching for back pain relief or sciatica relief, don’t rely on medicines to mask the symptoms. Your body is telling you of the deeper root cause of the problem, that needs to be fixed. Know that physical therapy should be your first treatment of choice, which eliminates your need for harmful painkilling drugs, such as opioids, or possibly avoid an invasive surgical procedure.
What’s the difference between back pain and sciatica?
“Back pain” is a term that can be caused by an array of different conditions. For example, you may experience back pain due to poor posture, a motor vehicle accident, or a lifting injury. The treatment plan that your Portland, OR physical therapist sets up for you, will depend on how you developed the back pain, in addition to its exact location and your past medical history.
Back pain can be described as acute, meaning it is short-term, or chronic, meaning it is long-term (typically lasting for three months or longer).
Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that is reported as being highly uncomfortable. However, it is also fortunately very simple to diagnose. People with sciatica experience pain along their sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body.
The sciatic nerve begins at your lower back and then splits at the base of your spine to extend further down to your buttocks, legs, and finally to the bottom of each foot. The sciatic nerve can become compressed or irritated, which causes a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in your lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.
How do back pain and sciatica develop?
General back pain typically develops as the result of an injury. This can be due to repetitive straining motions, such as leaning down multiple times throughout the day to pick up a toddler, or a more serious, sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident. Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can also cause immense pain, and cause radiculopathy pain to the thigh, leg, or foot. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition as we age, which can result in back pain. Those with this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back, and have difficulty with prolonged standing or walking.
Sciatica’s technical name is “lumbar radiculopathy.” People who develop this condition are generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Many different types of injuries can cause the development of sciatica, including arthritis, bone spurs, or any other injury that impacts the sciatic nerve. Most commonly, we find that people lose their flexibility in the hips and pelvis, which causes the gluteus and hip muscles to become tightened. This is turn, alters the mechanics of the spine, and compression to the sciatic nerve as it travels through these tissues.
Why you shouldn’t just deal with that nagging pain
For most people, back pain will come and go. However, what many people don’t realize, is that the underlying problem of poor joint movement, core weakness, and poor muscle coordination, will set them up for a future back injury, which can be significantly worse.
Back pain and sciatica are both completely treatable through physical therapy. Your physical therapist creates a specific treatment plan for you that is dependent upon your diagnosis. The early stages of your physical therapy treatment focuses on quick pain relief.
As your pain reduces, your physical therapist will expand on strengthening your core muscle group with specific therapeutic exercises and stretches. The goal here is to increase your strength and range of motion to prevent re-injury of your spine. Finally, we teach you ergonomics and ways to make sure you know how to take care of your spine, avoiding future problems.
If you are suffering from sciatica, our physical therapists will implement specific leg stretches into your treatment plan to loosen the sciatic nerve. This restores the natural health of the nerve and quickly reduces symptoms.
If you are experiencing back pain or sciatica, make an appointment with one of our specialists at MechanoTherapy in Portland, OR. No matter how severe the pain may be, our physical therapist will help you get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.