Sciatica & Low Back Pain

Sciatica and low back pain can often be debilitating. Whether the pain is sharp, dull, or radiating to the back of the legs, pinpointing the cause of the Sciatica or low back pain is key to understanding how to address the symptoms.

Sciatica & Low Back Pain

Symptoms

The main symptom of Sciatica is pain shooting down the back of the leg anywhere from the buttocks to the foot.  Numbness, tingling, pins and needles, or sharp pain usually occurs with sitting for long periods of time. Usually sciatica affects only one side of the body. Sciatica is not a standalone condition, but is a symptom caused by something compressing the sciatic nerve.

At any time in the United States, 25% of people report having low back pain within the past 3 months. Low back pain can occur on one or both sides of the back, and can be present with rest or activity.  Low back pain can radiate to the upper buttocks, and occasionally cause pain radiating down the legs. Soreness and muscle tautness usually come hand in hand with low back pain.

Causes

Sciatica is known to many people as pain that runs down the back of your leg. It occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed. In more severe cases, the leg becomes weak. The nerve can be compressed by a herniated disc, part of the vertebrae pressing on the nerve, or by taut muscles compressing the nerve, such as  the piriformis muscle. Other causes could be spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, infection, and in rare cases, a tumor. Understanding why the sciatic nerve is causing the radiating pain is key to relieving the symptoms and preventing it from occurring again.

Low back pain can be caused by:  Degenerative Disc Disease, Herniated Discs, Stenosis, Fractures, Osteoporosis, Tumors of the Spine, Spondylolisthesis, and Osteoarthritis. Low back pain can afflict those young and old, athletic and sedentary individuals, and usually can recur after the initial incident.

Diagnosis

At Specialized Physical Therapy, we will conduct a thorough medical history review focused on your specific symptoms to determine the cause of your symptoms.  Low back pain and Sciatica are usually affected by everyday postures and positions, and we always examine conditions outside the clinic such as seated postures, work positions, car positions, and other movement patterns which could contribute to your current symptoms. Also, determining how you use your back during sports and recreational activities guides the diagnosis process.

Treatment and Exercises

After a thorough examination and analysis, we create a program involving manual techniques which can include McKenzie based physical therapy, stretches, mobilizations, massage, and also core strengthening/postural exercises.  Our goal is to teach you the correct postural positions and movement techniques limiting strain on your back to get you back to your normal function. Low back pain and Sciatica can be limiting, but with the help of Dan, Michael, and Diana we can help you get control  of your symptoms.

Request a free consultation or give us a call to get started!

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