Sciatica and Back Pain Relief
While Sciatica and back pain are similar, they still have their differences and are often confused with one another. Back pain is found specifically in the upper, middle, or lower back. Sciatica is a more diffuse, radiating pain down the buttock, thigh, and even leg.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, back pain is the most commonly reported pain across the nation, and one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months. Back pain can be debilitating when you want to have a normal life and can cause a great deal of uncertainty and worry. If you wake up in the morning with back pain or notice nagging aches in your back, buttock, or thighs, physical therapy in Mililani and Kailua can help you find relief. We are here for you and have some highly effective strategies to help you get back to the activities you enjoy.
It is also possible to have radiculopathy, which is a radiating numbness, tingling, burning, or sharp pain to a specific part of the leg. This is often associated with a herniated disc, or entrapment of the nerve in that area, as it exits the spine.
If you are suffering from back pain or sciatica, don’t rely on medicines to help you mask the pain. At Moon Physical Therapy, our Mililani and Kailua physical therapists will get to the root of the problem and provide long-lasting relief.
In many cases, our treatments are even able to eliminate the need for harmful pain-killing drugs, such as opioids, or an invasive surgical procedure.
How will physical therapy help with back pain or sciatica?
While back pain may come and go, it is always important to treat it right away. If not, it can lead to poor joint movement, core weakness, and poor muscle coordination, which can all lead to unwanted injuries in the future.
Back pain and sciatica are both completely treatable through physical therapy. Our Mililani and Kailua physical therapists will create a specific treatment plan for you based upon your diagnosis and goals.
The early stages of your physical therapy treatment will focus on quick pain relief. We are able to utilize the healing properties of warm water in our Hydroworx 350 or Endless Pool to immediately reduce pain and swelling while promoting proper posture, increasing mobility and improving spinal stability and strength. Afterward, our physical therapist will expand your treatment to include strengthening your core muscle group with specific functional therapeutic exercises and stretches on land. This helps improve your strength and range of motion to prevent re-injury of your spine. Our physical therapist will also provide you with postural correction and ergonomic techniques for taking care of your spine during daily activities, such as sitting at a desk or driving. Most importantly, our team will teach you how to manage flare-ups and prevent your pain from returning.
For the treatment of sciatica, our physical therapists will implement manual therapy techniques and specific leg stretches into your treatment plan to loosen the sciatic nerve. This restores the natural health of the nerve and quickly reduces symptoms.
What caused my back pain/sciatica?
General back pain typically develops as the result of an injury. This can be due to repetitive straining motions, such as leaning down multiple times throughout the day to pick up a toddler, or a more serious, sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident.
Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can also cause immense pain, and cause radiculopathy pain to the thigh, leg, or foot. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition as we age, which can result in back pain. Those with this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back, and have difficulty with prolonged standing or walking.
Sciatica’s technical name is “lumbar radiculopathy.” People who develop this condition are generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Many different types of injuries can cause the development of sciatica, including arthritis, bone spurs, or any other injury that impacts the sciatic nerve.
Most commonly, we find that people lose their flexibility in the hips and pelvis, which causes the gluteus and hip muscles to become tightened. This, in turn, alters the mechanics of the spine, and compresses the sciatic nerve as it travels through these tissues.
Understanding the differences between back pain and sciatica
Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that is reported as being highly uncomfortable. However, it is also fortunately very simple to diagnose. People with sciatica experience pain along the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body.
The sciatic nerve begins at your lower back and then splits at the base of your spine to extend further down to your buttocks, legs, and finally ends at the bottom of each foot.
The sciatic nerve can become compressed or irritated, which causes a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in your lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.
“Back pain” is a term that can be caused by an array of different conditions. For example, you may experience back pain due to poor posture, a motor vehicle accident, or a lifting injury.
The treatment plan that our Mililani and Kailua physical therapist sets up for you, will depend on how you developed the back pain, in addition to its exact location and your past medical history.
Back pain can be described as acute, meaning it is short-term, or chronic, meaning it is long-term (typically lasting for three months or longer).
Ready to schedule your first appointment?
If you are experiencing the symptoms of back pain or sciatica, find relief with Moon Physical Therapy today at Mililani & Kailua, HI centers. Request your appointment to get started on the first steps toward recovery and living a comfortable life.