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If there’s one thing that newly diagnosed patients with sciatica want, it’s relief. Not only can the effects of sciatica be physically draining, but they can also cause severe unhappiness and disappointment for the sufferer. 

Luckily, physical therapy can work wonders for those who have just been diagnosed with sciatica. Here’s how. 

What Exactly Is Sciatica?

Before we get to the explanation of how physical therapy can help, let’s go back to the basics of what exactly sciatica is. 

Sciatica refers to the pain that radiates down your sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from your lower back, through your hips and buttocks, and down your leg. It usually only affects one side of your body, but it can affect both if severe. 

The most common reasons people get sciatica is because of past incidents causing compression on the nerve, such as a herniated disk or a bone spur on the spine. The common symptoms of it are inflammation, pain, and even numbness of the affected areas. It can be difficult to participate in daily activities when you suffer from sciatica. 

How Physical Therapy Can Help Sciatica Pain

The goal of physical therapy, no matter what the situation is, is to reduce pain and promote a better lifestyle. This doesn’t mean physical therapy will make all the pain go away — although consistent practice makes the chances very high — but it will give patients the tools to make their conditions more manageable. 

With sciatica, the focus is on three main things: reducing symptoms, reducing flare-ups, and promoting a better lifestyle. The more you help support your body with your new sciatica diagnosis, the easier things will be. 

What exact treatment plan is best for your sciatica will be determined with your physical therapist, but some examples of exercises you might do include:

  • Stretching: Stretching is good for any kind of situation and is even beneficial to those who don’t have body aches and pains. 
  • Joint manipulation: Joint manipulation can help loosen joints and the surrounding muscles, improving mobility. 
  • Gait training: Even the way you walk can trigger negative symptoms. By retraining your gait, you can walk with more balance, and your body will be more supported. 
  • Back exercises: Your back muscles are an essential part of strengthening your body to handle sciatica. With strong back muscles, your body is better supported and puts less pressure on nerves. 
  • Functional retraining: By simply retraining yourself on how you sit, stand, or lift things, you can find immense relief in daily activities. 

Tips from Your Therapist

Not only can physical therapy help your body, but it can also help your lifestyle choices. 

For example, sciatica patients shouldn’t go on bed rest for long periods of time, although they might feel the need to. Over-resting can cause future discomfort, and your muscles may revert back to how they were. 

Your physical therapist can also help with your posture, as lower back pain is a common accompaniment of sciatica. The better your posture and support of your spine, the more comfortable you’ll be. 

Plus there are all sorts of technologies and office furniture that can help you stay comfortable. 

Sciatica Experts at South Orange Rehabilitation and Wellness

We have a customized, hands-on approach to how we help our patients. We understand that sciatica can really get in the way of you living the way you want, and we aim to make things not only easier but also pain-free. 

Our licensed physical therapists have the ability to provide you a long list of resources and activities that will help strengthen your back and leg muscles to better support your body, therefore removing the pressure from your nerves. We even have cold treatments and regular massage therapy to help you and your muscles relax. 

For more information on our services or to speak with us about how we can help with your sciatica pain, reach out to us on our contact page for more information. Let’s get you back to living the life you love.