Agility: 4 Quick Ways to Relieve Sciatica

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Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that is very common. Those diagnosed with sciatica typically report feeling pain in their lower back, legs, or buttocks, as it is a condition that develops from issues surrounding the nerves. Sciatica typically affects people between the ages of 30-50, and it can develop for a number of reasons. Certain conditions can lead to sciatica, such as bone spurs, arthritis, or any injury that affects the sciatic nerve. Injuries can also lead to sciatica, such as herniated discs, harsh falls, sports-related collisions, or anything that occurs gradually over time through overuse, repetition, or general “wear and tear.” Some common signs that you may be living with sciatica include: • Constant pain that may originate in the lower back, but travels mainly down the back of the buttock, thigh, calf, and even the foot. • Tenderness or sharp pain into the buttock muscles. • Numbness, tingling, or pain that travels down the back of the thigh. • Pain that feels better when lying down but worsens with standing, walking, or sitting. Fortunately, sciatica pain can be naturally and effectively treated with physical therapy treatments. This is done through both passive and active methods, in addition to targeted spinal mobilization. To learn more about how we can help relieve your sciatica pains so you can get back to living your life comfortably, contact Agility Physical Therapy today! Passive treatments: Passive treatments for sciatica relief may include massage therapy, ice and heat therapies, electric therapy, or

ultrasound. All of these different modalities help reduce pain, stimulate blood flow, and accelerate healing. Massage therapy is typically conducted for sciatica relief, as it helps alleviate sciatic nerve pain. It loosens up tight back muscles that may be pressing on the sciatic nerve, and it increases the release of endorphins for pain relief. Ice and heat therapies are also common, as they help ease pain, relax muscles, and reduce inflammation. Electrotherapy may also be applied, which uses electricity to also aid in reducing pain, strengtheningmuscles, ramping up circulation, and improving physical function. Active treatments: A physical therapist may use several types of treatments to reduce your sciatica pain and symptoms. Active treatments include motions, stretches, and specific exercises, aimed at reducing pain and accelerating healing. A physical therapist will also teach you different motions that you can do at home in order to manage your pain. If a physical therapist discovers any weakmuscles, you will be given corrective exercises for core strengthening. The stretching exercises in physical therapy target muscles that are inflexible and tight. These exercises focus not only on the lower back, but also on the hip muscles, abdominal muscles, and glutes. All of the exercises you participate in will help strengthen the spinal column (including your tendons, ligaments, and supporting muscles) while also keeping the spine in proper alignment. Spinal mobilization: Spinal mobilization (gentle movements of the spine) are paired with your stretching exercises. Movements of each spinal segment helps to relieve pain while simultaneously increasing the mobility of your spine. Because it is paired with your prescribed stretching exercises, this pain relief method works to last in the long term.


1. Consult with a physical therapist ASAP. Other lower back conditions, such as the ones mentioned earlier, can present as sciatica symptoms and may be the cause of your sciatica. Because of this, it is important to determine the exact origins of your symptoms. By consulting with a physical therapist as soon as you begin to notice pain, you’ll be able to recover quicker and avoid damage to the spinal joints and nerves. 2. Use ice and heat. You can relieve your sciatica pains at home by alternating ice and heat packs to your buttock area. Ice helps to relieve inflammation, while heat helps relax muscles and improve blood flow. Try keeping the ice pack on for 10 minutes, then off for 30 minutes before alternating to the heat pack. If you notice any additional pain, stop immediately. 3. Find the most comfortable sleeping position. Different sleeping positions can be more comfortable for those living with sciatica. It is important to find one that relaxes the lower back while also taking pressure off of the sciatic nerve. Two of the sleeping positions we recommend include: 1) Lying on your non-painful side with your knees bent comfortably, with the top knee slightly forward. 2) Lying on your back with a pillow under your knees. Try whichever one is most comfortable for you. If you notice additional pain with

either of these positions, consult with your physical therapist to find the best sleeping position for you. 4. Stretch at home. Your physical therapist can provide you with targeted stretches to do on your own at home. A common stretch for relieving sciatica pain includes: lying on your back, knees bent, while slowly rocking your knees from side to side. This should gently stretch your lower back, thus relaxing the muscles and easing the pain on your sciatica nerve. Talk to your physical therapist to see if this stretch would work for you. If you notice any additional pain, stop immediately. If you are living with the constant aches and pains of sciatica, physical therapy can help bring you relief. Your physical therapist can provide you with a treatment plan that will help strengthen the muscles surrounding your sciatic nerve, by participating in targeted exercises and stretches. Physical therapy can also help improve your range of motion and posture, thus decreasing sciatica symptoms further and preventing them from occurring again in the future. Contact us today to get started on the first steps toward sciatica pain relief! Contact Agility Physical Therapy for sciatica pain relief:


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Exercise Essentials Try this exercise to help keep you moving...

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LOWER TRUNK ROTATIONS Lying on your back with your knees bent, gently rock your knees side-to-side. Perform this 10-15 times in each direction.

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“The perfect place to get therapy and exercise with outstanding results.” “I’ve been to several facilities for physical therapy and the team at Agility is the best I’ve found. Not only do they excel in their technical competence, but everyone there is totally friendly and helpful. Now that I’ve “graduated” from therapy I’ve joined one of their fitness class, and it’s great. The perfect place to get therapy and exercise with outstanding results.” - W.P.

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