Is Sciatica causing you pain? How can we help ease your sciatic pain?
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica describes a set of symptoms that can include lower back pain, pain in the glutes (buttocks), pain shooting down the leg and numbness and tingling in parts of the leg and foot. It is often just experienced down one side of the body and can interfere with activities of daily living and sleep.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve, there are many causes and in order for treatment to be successful the right cause needs to be found. Common causes are tight muscles in the lower back or glutes, and disc or facet joint irritation .
Less common sciatic symptoms can be caused by spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) or a growth or infection.
What is piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome describes a case where the muscle known as the piriformis compresses the sciatic nerve due to its position deep in the glutes. This can be caused by poor posture when lifting, poor prolonged postures (office based, driving) or physical activity overuse. If referral pain is present is usually stays above the knee sometimes into the calf but rarely, if referral pain travels into the ankle or foot is is most likely related to the disc. Sometimes piriformis syndrome can mimic a hamstring strain.
Can Sports Therapy provide effective Sciatica treatment?
In cases where muscle tightness and stiffness is causing impingement of the sciatic nerve, then yes. If your injury is caused by the disc becoming irritated or facet joint irritation without damage, then yes. You have to remember that muscles control joint position and when tight can alter posture and create compression on the sciatic nerve. Even with a herniated disc we can advice you on exercises to help get you back to full fitness and how to prevent flare ups.
Early treatment intervention can prevent chronic muscle tightness from establishing itself. However even in cases where chronic tightness is already presenting itself sports therapy can still be an effective treatment intervention.
Often sciatica creates a pain cycle, once the nerve has been irritated by tight muscles, the body further contracts around the sensation of pain to protect itself. This exacerbates the original tightness. A Sports Therapist can manually locate, ease and soften tight muscles and provide relief of pressure and relief of pain. We educate about good movement patterns and use muscle energy techniques to change the bodies pain cycle allowing movements to become pain free.
If there are any underlying issues that created the primary irritation of the sciatic nerve sports therapy can work in support of other treatment modalities. Just inform the therapist if you already have a diagnosis of sciatica so they have the full details and can design a treatment plan to suit your needs.
How else might we support you through your sciatica care?
We can show you how to do exercises to ease and mobilise stiff muscles and joints. At Pro-Am we believe starting with a good breathing pattern and good body awareness enhances the efficacy of the exercises given. We like to make you involved in improving on and maintaining the benefits our treatments provide.
Please note that this blog post is for information purposes only.If you think you may be suffering with sciatica please seek out an injury professional or see your doctor.