Sciatica & Back Pain Relief
Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, and Massage Therapy Services Can Help with Both Back Pain and Sciatica
According to the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, back pain is the most commonly reported pain across the nation, and four out of five Canadians have experienced back pain in their lifetime.
While back pain and sciatica are similar, they still have their differences and are often confused with one another. Back pain is found specifically in the upper, middle or lower back. Sciatica is a more diffuse, radiating pain down the buttock, thigh, and even leg. It is also possible to have radiculopathy, which is a radiating numbness, tingling, burning, or sharp pain to a specific part of the leg.
Do you wake up in the morning with nagging back pain? Are you feeling an achy pain in your back, buttock, or even thigh? Are you having to watch what you do, because you are afraid you may hurt your back? If so, we can help.
If you are suffering from back pain or sciatica, don’t rely on medicines to help you mask the pain. At Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation, our Oakville, ON physiotherapists or chiropractor will get to the root of the problem and provide long-lasting relief and restoration of function. In many cases, our treatments are even able to eliminate the need for harmful painkilling drugs, such as opioids, or an invasive surgical procedure.
How will physiotherapy/chiropractic care help with back pain or sciatica?
Back pain and sciatica are both conditions that can be treated by physiotherapy or chiropractic care. Our Oakville, ON practitioners will create a specific treatment plan for you based upon your clinical diagnosis.
The early stages of your treatment will focus on quick pain relief and other symptom modification through the application of one or more of specific movements, manual techniques, therapeutic modalities like acupuncture, and advice specific to your case. Afterward, recovery of function becomes important, and it will involve your physiotherapist or chiropractor expanding your treatment plan to include strengthening your core muscle and other muscle groups, as well as gradual (re-) exposure to your activity.
Finally, your therapist will take some time to address prevention. Though the natural history of low back pain and sciatica indicates that a person will get more than one episode in their lifetime, it is possible to learn strategies to mitigate the effects or perhaps prevent a stiffened back into becoming a painful back. This may involve periodic checks of physical baselines, ergonomic recommendations, or specific stretches, exercises, and other movement strategies for taking care of your spine during your typical daily activities, like sitting or standing at a desk all day.
What caused my back pain/sciatica?
Back pain is multifactorial in nature, and the onset is quite often unknown. Sometimes it may develop as the result of an injury. This can be due to poor loading strategies, repetitive motions, or some type of trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident. Sometimes, external factors like job stress, or stress to perform in your sport can contribute to musculoskeletal pain, including low back pain. So it’s important to keep that in mind, and be open to strategies managing these factors.
Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can be contributors to pain and cause radiculopathy pain to the thigh, leg, or foot. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition as we age, and it may also result in back pain. Those with this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back. Keep in mind that in either case, people are more symptomatic with certain movements and positions, while finding some relief in others. It’s up to your therapist to help you learn what these movements and positions are, and ultimately, tailor a program that will most benefit your needs. Further to note, the evidence shows that a significant portion of people have these conditions and have no pain whatsoever. So know that there is hope, and these conditions are small pieces of a larger low back pain puzzle.
Understanding the differences between back pain and sciatica
It is important to note that “back pain” is a symptom and not a condition. It can result from an array of different conditions. For example, you may experience back pain due to physical factors like static posture and positions, a motor vehicle accident, or a lifting injury. But alternatively, there may be some external factors that are altering the way you experience that pain, with stress and anxiety being big ones.
The treatment plan that our Oakville, ON therapist sets up for you, will depend on your perceptions and experience with low back pain, as much as it does the nature of the back pain itself. Finally, the status of your back pain as acute, meaning it is short-term, or chronic, meaning it is long-term (typically lasting for three months or longer) plays a big role into the beliefs, experience, and management of low back pain. It is important to note that your therapist will consider all these things in conjunction with the physical examination when putting together your plan of care.
Sciatica’s technical name is “lumbar radiculopathy.” People who develop this condition are generally between the ages of 30 and 50, and can be attributed to many factors, both physical – affecting the sciatic nerve – and otherwise. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and it begins as roots extending from different levels of your lower back, converging to descend down the back and through the buttocks and thigh, splitting into two nerves at the knee, and finally extending through either side of the lower leg to the foot.
The sciatic nerve can become compressed or irritated, which causes a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in your lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet, and can be very uncomfortable. Fortunately, sciatica is easy to diagnose and easy in concept to manage. But it requires a good plan by the therapist and a lot of diligence from the person to get pain relief and restoration of function.
What else should I know about low back pain and sciatica?
There are some other symptoms that may be typical with low back pain or sciatica/pinched nerve in your back. These include, include but are not limited to:
- Inability to fully stand up or sit up straight
- Lower back stuck in a shifted or sidebent position
- Leg or foot weakness
- Numbness or tingling into the lower extremity
Ready to schedule your first appointment?
If you are experiencing the symptoms of back pain or sciatica, find relief with Leaps and Bounds: Performance Rehabilitation today. Request your appointment to get started on the first steps toward recovery and living a comfortable life.