Physical therapy is more than just a combination of exercises, massage and repetitive movements to improve physical function and mobility after injury, illness or surgery. The treatment of the pain and debilitation wrought by Sciatica is a prime example of that.
Physical therapists are here to improve your quality of life with a personalized program that works for physical recovery and healing. They not only work with you, but they also share lifestyle changes that will improve your quality of life by relieving sciatica pain. That includes prescribing an at-home program for you to follow that is specific to your needs and the parts of your body most affected.
Sciatica typically results in weakness, numbness and, yes, sometimes excruciating pain in the buttocks and down through the leg, usually tracking on one side of the body. It follows the path of the sciatic nerve which originates in the lower back and then branches out through your buttocks and hips and then down each leg, although it tends to be on one leg or the other.
The good news is that, in most cases, it is less invasive than the previously stated advanced conditions and can be healed in a matter of weeks with physical therapy and other non-operative approaches.
Following are some of the things we can do, each with its own detailed protocols, include:
- Enhancement of Flexibility and Motion— Stretching tight muscles and teaching the patient how to do it can result in an amazing response it early stages of sciatica. We perform what are known as “passive” motions to stimulate more self-initiated motion and flexibility.
- Increase and Restore Strength and Endurance— This is where the word “exercise” is the most accurate word for what we do, and repetition is often a part of it. Physical therapists will quickly discern muscle weakness or injury and teach the patient the exercises to bolster strength and endurance, including what is known as “core strengthening.” That core includes the back/pelvis, hips and abdomen.
- Alleviating Pain— Pain is a symptom of a condition, disease or injury. Sciatica pain reaches beyond dealing with the pain itself. It affects your attitude, your morale and self-confidence in performing what were once common activities. Physical therapy relies on a number of treatments to reduce pain without drugs or surgery, ranging from electrotherapy for electrical nerve stimulation to mechanical traction and motion exercises.
- Correct Posture Reduces Pressure— Your mother was right about not to slouch and to stand straight. A physical therapist will help you correct posture concerns, which often take the pressure off affected areas. Once that is attained, healing may more appropriately begin.
- Getting Back to Active Living— The end result of what physical therapy can do through all or some of the above is allowing you to return to the activities you once enjoyed and were once an important part of your life.
—Call us today at (201) 651-9100 for an appointment at Oakland Spine & Physical Therapy or more information about how we can help you deal with Sciatica.