Do I Have Sciatica? + How To Manage It!
By Physiotherapist Jewel Oh
Do you get pain, pins & needles or numbness that refers from your buttock down your leg?
You may have sciatica – Here are some tips to help manage it!
WHAT IS SCIATICA?
Sciatica refers to pain caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve that carries messages from the brain down the spinal cord to the legs. The pain of sciatica typically radiates down one side from the lower back into the leg, often below the knee.
WHAT CAUSES SCIATICA
Sciatica is usually a result of the nerve being compressed at the site where it leaves the spine. This compression can be from local swelling, disc herniation, nerve irritation or spinal stenosis (narrowing).
Other causes of sciatica include:
- Poor posture
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stiffness
- Compression by Piriformis (pelvis) Muscle
- Unaccustomed bouts of heavy lifting
- Prolonged sitting
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SCIATICA
Sciatica pain often starts in the lower back and spreads down the buttock, leg and calf. Sometimes the pain can reach the foot.
The pain varies from an aching or burning sensation, to sharp, shooting pains. There may also be numbness, muscle weakness or tingling in the leg.
If there is muscle weakness in the leg or foot and it is difficult to lift your foot off the floor, book an appointment with us immediately.
HOW CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP?
Physio for sciatica aims to calm down the sciatic nerve and improve mobility in the spine thereby reducing pain and discomfort.
This is achieved through a variety of interventions such as:
- Massage and/or dry needling to reduce tightness
- Spinal joint mobilisation to restore mobility
- Stretching advice and guidance
- Exercise advice to minimise pressure on the injured region
- Assessment and advice on preventing future episodes
- Postural advice
TIPS TO MANAGE YOUR SCIATICA
Appling ice/hot packs: Apply ice/hot packs wrapped in a towel to the affected area to relieve pain. Apply for 20 minutes, several times a day
Performing Daily Stretches: Its important to maintain/improve the mobility of your spine. Depending on the cause of your sciatica – different stretches are required.
Knee to chest
Exercising: Exercise is more effective in relieving sciatica pain than bed rest, it improves the strength of your muscles supporting your spine. Going for a short walk or ride can help.
Remember to only exercise within your limits of pain, try not to push through it, gentle rhythmic exercises work best.
COME SEE A PROFESSIONAL
The physiotherapists here at Corio Bay Sports Treatment Clinic Colac can assess and diagnose your condition.
They can develop a structured management plan to improve your symptoms and get you back doing what you love!
Book An Appointment
Come and have a chat with one of our physiotherapists to see if we can help improve your health. Book online or call the clinic on (03) 5232 2400.