AthleticAdvantagePT_Understanding Sciatica Back Pain

N E W S L E T T E R

M A K I N G M O V E S T O U N D E R S TA N D SCIATICA BACK PAIN

Sciatica is a common condition but the definition is very broad and misunderstood. The symptoms of sciatica are somewhat easy to identify, but the cause and proper course of treatment varies depending on the case. What Is Sciatica? Sciatica is pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. This nerve, which branches from your lower back — spanning across your hips, buttocks and legs — can be injured or compressed in several ways and anywhere along its distribution. While sciatica pain can be intense, it is treatable. A lot of sciatica cases, in fact, can be resolved without operation — and within just a few weeks. Arguably the most important factor to getting better is finding a clinician that can identify the primary cause of your symptoms. The pain felt from irritation of the sciatic nerve is often a result of damage or pathology to another structure in close proximity to the nerve. What Causes Sciatica? In most cases, sciatica occurs when one of the back’s discs are herniated. It can also happen

if the spine narrows — an effect called spinal stenosis. If this is the case, both legs are often affected. The sciatic nerve is very long and branches off behind the knee to supply the lower leg. Because of its vast expansion and pathway throughout many structures in the leg, there are multiple culprits for compression or irritation. Alternatively, poor posture or positioning may lead to sciatic compression over time. This is not an exhaustive list of all sciatica causes. What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica? Sciaticapain isoftennoticedasapainradiating from the lower back. Often, this pain extends to the buttock, spiraling down the leg and extending to the calf. This, however, is only one presentation of the condition. Pain may be present anywhere along the nerve pathway and does not always originate at the spine. The pain may also be inconsistent, appearing and disappearing, increasing and decreasing depending on a multitude of factors. Thepain itselfcanbedull,achingorevensharp. Insomecases, thecompressednervemay feel like it burns. In other cases, the compressed nerve may simply issue a sharp jolt of pain. Some people experiencing sciatica may

experience leg numbness, tingling, weakness, or tightness and pulling in the back of the leg. If sciatica isn’t treated, it can hinder mobility altogether. How Physical Therapy Can Help with Sciatica If you think you may be experiencing sciatica, contact our clinic to schedule a visit with one of our licensed physical therapists. We will conduct a thorough examination to identify and treat the origin of your pain. Medical Over- the-counter painkillers may alleviate pain, but in-depth physical therapy is often needed, as the ultimate cause must be addressed in order toachieve lastingrelief.Physical therapy can reduce sciatica compression by carefully introducing exercises, utilizing appropriate manual therapy techniques, and providing insight on the origin of pain. If you are experiencing back pain, don’t wait. Call us at (214) 383-0623, and ask about our physical therapy options. Sources: medicinenet.com/sciatica/article.htm • mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms- causes/syc-20377435 • medicalnewstoday.com/ articles/7619.php

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