Sciatica is a group of symptoms including lower back pain, leg pain, numbness and tingling sensation in the legs as well as reduced leg motion as a result of compression of the sciatic nerve in the level of the lower spine. Sciatica is seen as one of the most common conditions leading to lower back pain and leg pain and a common reason for people to visit their Wesley Chapel chiropractor. It can develop from a variety of spinal conditions, but the most common causes result from chronic wear and tear of the spinal joints.
The most common concern for sciatica is the development of pain along the lower back and the leg. This can significantly affect one’s functioning and may lead to reduced ambulation as well. Managing pain; thereby, becomes one of the focuses of management for sciatica. If you are experiencing pain from sciatica, there are a number of methods to provide pain relief including:
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy is commonly indicated for sciatica pain relief. It involves a variety of methods such as ultrasound, traction, manual therapy and electric muscle stimulation. Traction is especially done to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve by providing a force that will separate the affected vertebral joint. Manual therapy is also employed to provide direct stimulation on the painful back or leg. Ultrasound as well as electric muscle stimulation is a newer technique to provide sciatica pain relief.
- Heat and ice application
Heat and ice applications are conventional methods to relieve sciatica pain and can be used at home. Following any activity, ice packs may be placed to halt the inflammatory process. At the end of the day, ice packs can also be used to prevent further inflammation. Heating pads or a hot water bag can also be used to promote muscle relaxation on the painful back or leg. It also offers tactile stimulation for further pain relief.
- Use of braces
Lower back pain from sciatica may also benefit from using braces. Up to 89% of patients with lower back pain from sciatica have reported improvement on their back pain. Also, the use of rigid orthosis was seen to be more beneficial than using support aids.
- Spinal manipulation
Spinal manipulation done by physicians or chiropractors was seen as one of the most beneficial managements for sciatica pain relief in patients with no neurologic impairments. Spinal manipulation can be safely done by chiropractors; nevertheless, appropriate diagnosis should be made to rule out neurologic affectations.
- Use of analgesics
For immediate pain management, analgesics may be used in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oral steroids. Talk to your health care provider for the most appropriate medication for sciatica pain relief.
Massage provides both short-term and long-term relief from sciatica pain. Among all the massage techniques, acupressure was seen to be most effective in relieving sciatica symptoms. Also, Swedish and Thai massage can also be employed. Regular massage can be costly, but the long-term results of massage reduce the long-term use of analgesics as well as the need for frequent health care visits.
Finally, exercise therapy is also used for sciatica pain relief along with physical therapy. Exercises involve stretching and strengthening exercises; however, movements that allow bending at the waist or arching of the back should be avoided as these may aggravate sciatica.
If you are experiencing pain along your lower back and legs, medical consult should be sought as this may be due to sciatica, which requires no ordinary pain relief methods.