Physical Therapy For Sciatic Nerve Pain
Physical therapy for sciatic nerve pain is an effective way to reduce your symptoms, address the underlying cause of your condition and guard against future issues.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in your body, running from your lower back through your hips and down each leg. Its purpose is to send signals from and to muscles in order to regulate movement.
When this nerve becomes irritated or compressed, it can cause symptoms like burning or tingling in the buttocks and leg, numbness, and weakness that may radiate down one or both legs.
A physical therapist can identify the source of your sciatic pain and develop an exercise program tailored specifically towards those areas in order to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Physical therapy exercises for sciatica may involve stretching, soft tissue massage and manual therapies that reduce pressure on the nerve by improving mobility. Your physiotherapist may also suggest ways to build strength and endurance so you can manage your symptoms over time.
Many people suffering from sciatica find relief by stretching tight hip muscles that could be compressing the nerve. Your physical therapist may suggest stretches such as the reclining pigeon pose (pictured below) which can help alleviate pressure on your sciatic nerve.
Your therapist may suggest strengthening exercises to increase your overall strength and muscle endurance, so that you can do more of what you enjoy in life. These may include isometric, plyometric or resistance training exercises that target specific joints or muscles.
Functional retraining is another treatment option to help you learn how to move again and strengthen the muscles surrounding your sciatic nerve. This type of approach may be particularly helpful if you have been sitting or standing in one position for an extended period of time, according to Jones.
Other treatments to relieve sciatic pain include using ice packs and heat packs, which increase blood flow to the affected area. Furthermore, these techniques can reduce stress on the body which could aid in healing processes as well as reduce inflammation levels.
If you are experiencing intense pain that is accompanied by other warning signs like fever, chills or night sweats, it is essential to see your doctor right away. They will run tests and refer you to a physical therapist who can help get to the source of your discomfort and rule out other causes for it.
Sciatic nerve problems can present with debilitating symptoms and potential risks. Signs may include numbness, weakness, changes in bladder or bowel function and/or pain that radiates down your leg to your foot or toes.
In some cases, sciatic nerve compression can be caused by a herniated disc that puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Your physical therapist can assess your injury and recommend the best course of treatment, such as surgery or steroid injections to reduce or eliminate your sciatic pain.