Using Physical Therapy to Help Relieve Sciatic Pain

Physical therapy for sciatica pain

Story at-a-glance -

  • According to one study, physical therapy combined with a general practitioner’s care helped improve the recovery rate of sciatica sufferers better than those who only received a practitioner’s care
  • To fully treat sciatica, physical therapy needs to be added to your program. Not only can it help relieve the symptoms, but it may also help prevent the condition from occurring again

While home remedies may be an effective way to treat sciatica on your own, they are just part of your road to recovery. To fully treat sciatica, physical therapy needs to be added to your program. Not only can it help relieve the symptoms, but it may also help prevent the condition from occurring again. There are three types of physical therapies involved when it comes to dealing with sciatica:1

Stretching Exercises

Stretching is a great way to start treating sciatica, because you don’t need to use any equipment. It also prepares you for future strengthening exercises because it warms up your muscles, keeping them strong and flexible. Without the proper amount of stretching, your muscles will shorten and become tight, increasing your risk of developing additional injuries.2

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises help improve the ability of your muscles, ligaments and tendons to support your spinal column. In the case of sciatica, the majority of these movements focus on the lower back, abdominal, gluteus and hip muscles. Strong core muscles can help you maintain your balance and support your spine better. It may also lower the risk of developing back-related injuries, should you accidentally extend or twist the spine outside the normal range.

Aerobic Exercises

Low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming increase your heart rate. These exercises allow more blood and oxygen to flow to your lower back, and help keep your body from becoming too sedentary. Before doing any form of aerobic exercise, though, make sure that you have stretched and warmed up sufficiently. Observe proper posture as well to help keep pain from occurring in whatever workout you choose to do.3

As much as possible, you should try incorporating a combination of the three exercises mentioned above into your recovery program. According to one study, physical therapy combined with a general practitioner’s care helped improve the recovery rate of sciatica sufferers better than those who only received a practitioner’s care.4

Additional Treatments You Can Do With the Help of a Physical Therapist

Your doctor may refer you to an experienced physical therapist with a good track record of helping patients suffering from sciatica. A therapist may be able to help you with specialized treatments such as:5

Deep tissue massage: This method uses direct pressure and friction on muscles that are pressing on your sciatic nerve. The goal is to release the tension from the affected muscles to help relieve pain.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: Also known as TENS, this technique uses a special machine that stimulates your muscles with safe intensities of electrical current. This may help reduce the occurrence of muscle spasms that can cause sciatica, as well as increasing the production of endorphins in your body. TENS may be done in your therapist’s office, or a small unit for home use

Ultrasound: Your therapist will send sound waves into your body to penetrate into deep muscle tissues, creating a gentle heat that enhances blood circulation to help speed up healing. Increased circulation may also help reduce cramping, swelling, stiffness and pain associated in the affected area.

Your Therapy Program Will Depend on the Degree of Your Symptoms

Your health history and current physical capabilities will be taken into account to create a custom program to help you recover from sciatica. This will help your physical therapist decide what kind of passive and active treatments are needed to help treat your condition.6

MORE ABOUT SCIATICA

Sciatica: An Introduction

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica Causes

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica Pain Relief

Sciatica Exercises

Sciatica Surgery

Sciatica Prevention

Sciatica During Pregnancy

Sciatica Diet

Sciatica FAQ

< Previous

Sciatica Treatment

Next >

Sciatica Exercises

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment