Living with long-term sciatica can be painful and daunting. Everyday activities like sitting or walking can come with unexpected jolts of pain. Since this pain is due to an irritated nerve, it can be difficult to treat with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Moving the legs and back is important to relieve sciatica, but the symptoms don’t encourage this process. That’s why physical therapy can be such a helpful treatment. A qualified physical therapist will guide you through the stretches and exercises that take pressure off of the sciatic nerve, reducing your pain.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or injured. This nerve runs from the base of the spine to the back of the hips, into the buttock, and down into the leg, making it the body’s longest nerve. If you have pain along this path on one side of your body, it’s likely due to sciatica.
Slipped discs and other spinal injuries can put painful pressure on the sciatic nerve. Like most nerve pain, symptoms vary widely in type and intensity. Some people have only minor aches that go away on their own. For others, the pain comes in sharp bursts or can cause numbness in the entire area of the nerve. That’s when physical therapy for sciatica is a wise next step.
Maintaining Routine Skills and Living a Normal Life
Since sciatica affects such a large area of the body, it can interfere with many daily tasks. A few of those tasks include:
- Working at a desk or sitting for long periods of time
- Working a physical job or standing for long periods of time
- Bending to reach low objects
- Lifting objects
- Getting enough exercise
Since sciatica often arises with low back pain and other painful spinal injuries, the combined strain can make daily activities can feel impossible. However, physical therapy can go a long way to alleviating pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Managing the Pain and Flexibility
Sciatica improves drastically with regular exercise and stretching. The problem is, when this pain flares up, often the last thing you want to do is go for a run or do yoga. A physical therapist can gently ease you into the best exercises to relieve pain quickly.
Here are a few of the methods a physical therapist uses to ease sciatica pain:
- Core strengthening exercises to better support spinal health, leading to less pressure on the lower spine and sciatic nerve
- Low-impact aerobic exercises, such as cycling or walking, to get the muscles moving around the nerve and reduce pinching
- Posture correction to promote healthy spinal alignment
- Low back and glute stretches to increase flexibility in the muscles surrounding the nerve
A great step towards managing this common pain condition is to make an appointment for physical therapy New Albany Indiana. Over time, you may be able to use these physical therapy exercises to relieve sciatica flare-ups on your own when they occur. Regular exercise is important for sciatica relief and also for your overall health.
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