Sciatica & Back Pain Relief
Did you know that one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months? According to the American Physical Therapy Association, back pain is the most commonly reported pain across the nation. This form of pain typically results from an injury or strain; however, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the discomfort you are feeling is the result of general back pain or sciatica.
Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that occurs from issues surrounding the nerves, and it is extremely common. Whether you are suffering from general back pain or sciatica, working with one of our highly-trained Hazlet and Neptune City physical therapists can help relieve the discomfort in your back and restore your health. Physical therapy may even eliminate your need for harmful pain-management drugs, such as opioids, or an invasive surgical procedure. If you are experiencing back pain, contact Figurelli Integrated Wellness Center today. Our skilled physical therapists will create an individualized treatment regimen for you, focusing around your relief and recovery.
Why do back pain & sciatica occur?
General back pain usually develops as the result of an injury, and it can occur suddenly or gradually over time. For example, repetitive straining motions, such as bending down multiple times to pick up boxes while moving, can result in general back pain, as can a more serious, sudden trauma, such as a car accident. Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can also cause severe back pain and can lead to sciatica. Degenerative disc disease is also a common condition resulting in back pain, which can be caused by poor posture or obesity. Those suffering from this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back that are chronic and persistent.
Sciatica is a bit more difficult to understand than general back pain. The technical name for sciatica is “lumbar radiculopathy.” Those who develop this condition are typically between 30 and 50 years of age. There are many different types of injuries that can cause the development of sciatica, such as bone spurs, arthritis, or any other injury that impacts the sciatic nerve. Common injuries resulting in sciatica include harsh falls, sports-related collisions, or anything that occurs gradually over time through repetition, overuse, or general “wear and tear.”
So, what’s the difference?
“Back pain” is sort of an umbrella term, as it can be caused by numerous different conditions. For example, you may experience back pain due to an injury at the gym, poor posture, a car accident, and more. The treatment plan that your Hazlet and Neptune City physical therapist sets up for you, will depend on how you developed the back pain, in addition to its exact location and your past medical history.
Back pain is described as acute or chronic. Acute pain means that it lasts for a short time and is usually severe. Chronic pain means that it lasts generally three months or longer and it can either cause persistent severe or dull pain. The pain you experience is typically either rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine.
Sciatica is a specific type of back pain, and it is usually reported as being extremely uncomfortable. Fortunately, it is also usually very simple to diagnose. People with sciatica experience pain along their sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in your body.
The sciatic nerve begins at your lower back and then splits at the base of your spine, extending down to your buttocks, legs, and finally to the bottom of each foot. The sciatic nerve can become “pinched,” which in turn causes a “stinging,” “burning” or “shooting” sensation in your lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.
How can I get help?
Luckily enough, back pain and sciatica are both completely treatable through the use of physical therapy. One of our Hazlet and Neptune City physical therapists will create a treatment plan for you that is dependent upon your diagnosis. In the early stages of your physical therapy treatments, you and your physical therapist will work closely to focus on pain relief. This may include any combination of manual therapy, light exercises, posture improvement, ice and heat therapies, or any other treatment that your physical therapist deems fit.
Once you begin to improve, your physical therapist will expand on your exercises and stretches, increasingly making them more intensive over time. These will help in focusing on increasing your strength and range of motion.
If you are suffering from sciatica, your physical therapist will implement specific leg stretches into your treatment plan that are focused around loosening up the sciatic nerve. The overall goal of physical therapy for back pain and sciatica is to alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and strengthen the body. The goal is for you to get back to doing your normal daily activities without worrying about pain or discomfort.
If you are experiencing back pain or sciatica, contact our Hazlet and Neptune City, NJ physical therapy office to schedule an evaluation. No matter how severe the pain may be, Figurelli Integrated Wellness Center will help you get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.