Starting at the low back, branching at the pelvis, and running down each leg, the sciatic nerve is the longest in the human body. When the nerve becomes inflamed or compressed, it can cause some symptoms and sensations known collectively as sciatica. If you’re wondering, “Is physical therapy near me a potential treatment option for sciatica?” the answer is yes, it is possible that physical therapy may help relieve your symptoms.
Nullify Sciatic Back Pain
Sciatica is not a medical condition of its own. Rather, it is a symptom of something else. The most common cause of sciatica is compression of the nerve. This can happen for many reasons, one of which is poor posture when you are sitting or standing.
Sciatica usually only affects one side of the body at a time. The pain can be dull and aching or sharp and shooting in nature. It may be localized to the hip or thigh, or it may radiate down the back of the leg into the calf and foot. You may experience a burning sensation, or the pain may feel like more of an electrical shock.
In addition to pain, you may experience paresthesias due to sciatica. Paresthesia is a sensation of numbness or tingling in the affected limb. Some patients describe it as pins and needles. Sciatica symptoms can get worse after you have been sitting for a long time. Sneezing or coughing can also exacerbate symptoms.
It is possible to experience different sciatica symptoms in the same limb at the same time. For example, one part of your leg may feel numb, while another part is in pain.
In most cases, sciatica goes away on its own. However, if you do not address the underlying cause, it can keep coming back. There are several factors that can increase the chances of recurrent sciatica, one of which is poor posture. If this is the case for you, physical therapy Evansville, Indiana, may involve posture re-education. This can improve your symptoms by relieving the pressure on your sciatic nerve.
Regain Your Flexibility
Pain and paresthesias from sciatica may cause you to avoid using the affected leg or putting weight on it. This can cause your muscles to become stiff, leading to decreased range of motion, and atrophied. An atrophied muscle not only becomes weaker; it actually starts to lose bulk. If you feel it with your hands, you may be able to actually feel that the muscle has become smaller, especially when you compare it to the size of the corresponding muscle on the unaffected leg.
The best Madisonville, KY physical therapists can create a program for you that includes strengthening exercises to help build atrophied muscles back up. Once your muscles are strong enough, your therapist may have you start exercises that loosen up your stiff muscles so you can regain flexibility and full range of motion.
Sciatica is not normal, and you do not have to live with it if it keeps coming back. See a physical therapist for an initial evaluation. If physical therapy is an option, your therapist can create an individualized treatment plan.