Physio Treatment for Sciatica

Around one in six Australian’s suffer from lower back pain and sciatica. Left untreated, these conditions can limit your mobility and adversely affect your quality of life. Whilst some individuals only experience low level discomfort, others experience weakness, numbness and significant pain.  The causes of lower back pain and sciatica are wide and varied, and it is important to seek an early diagnosis so that an appropriate treatment plan can be put in place.

 

What is the Difference between Lower Back Pain and Sciatica?

Sciatica and lower back pain are two different conditions, but the symptoms can be similar and range from acute to chronic. Lower back pain is a general term which can refer to any pain felt within the lower back (lumbar region).

People with sciatica experience increased pressure and irritation at the sciatic nerve, causing pain to radiate from the lower back and down one or both legs. Those with a herniated disc are at an increased risk of experiencing sciatica, as it compresses the sciatic nerve causing swelling and reduced blood flow.

 

Common Causes of Sciatica and Lower Back Pain

Sciatica can affect people of all ages, and it is usually caused by a herniated disc, local swelling leading to compression of the nerve, or local joint inflammation. A prolapsed intervertebral disc is a common cause of sciatica for younger people, but for older adults it is usually due to the ageing process and associated conditions such as osteoarthritis.

The following can also cause sciatica:

  • Poor posture
  • Heavy lifting when you are not used to it
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Torn/pulled muscle
  • Injury
  • Spinal stiffness

Sciatica and lower back pain respond very well to physiotherapy treatment, so in most cases surgery will not be necessary.

 

Diagnosis and Physio Treatment of Sciatica

You will typically notice tightness around the lower back, numbness, muscle weakness, tingling, aching/burning sensation and sharp/shooting pain. Pain may first be felt in the lower back before later spreading down the buttock, leg and calf. Pain can be debilitating and limit your daily movements, which can be especially difficult for people with an active lifestyle and those whose employment requires them to be seated for much of the day.

It is important to seek a diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as symptoms arise. Whilst rest and relaxation is important for recovery, physio treatment will help you to manage symptoms and regain full function in the safest and most efficient manner. During your appointment at Therapy Services Physio, we will perform a thorough examination before formulating a tailored treatment plan to alleviate pain and improve core strength and spinal stability.

 

Typical interventions include:

  • Massage or dry needling
  • Stretching
  • Exercise and postural advice to minimise pressure on the affected area
  • Postural correction by means of taping
  • Spinal joint mobilisation
  • Exercise based therapy

 

Experiencing back pain or sciatica? Book an appointment at Therapy Services Physio Today

Sciatica can be painful and debilitating, but by seeking physio treatment early you can overcome pain and discomfort and return to your normal routine with confidence. The team at Therapy Services Physio have a wealth of experience in treating lower back pain and sciatica. Please call us today on