Back Pain & Sciatica Relief
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, back pain is the most commonly reported pain across the nation, and one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months. Back pain usually results from an injury or strain. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if the discomfort you are experiencing is general back pain or sciatica.
Sciatica, a specific type of back pain caused by a nerve issue, is extremely common. Whether you are suffering from general back pain or sciatica. Working with a Bethesda physical therapist can help relieve the discomfort in your back and restore your health. Physical therapy may even eliminate your need for harmful painkilling drugs, such as opioids, or an invasive surgical procedure. If you are experiencing back pain, contact Graham Therapy and Fitness today. Our skilled physical therapists will create an individualized treatment regimen for you, focusing on your recovery.
What’s the difference between general back pain and sciatica?
“Back pain” is a term that can be caused by an array of different conditions. For example, you may experience back pain due to poor posture, a motor vehicle accident, or a lifting injury. The treatment plan that your Bethesda 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 can be described as acute, meaning it is short-term, or chronic, meaning it is long-term. The pain you experience can be rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine.
Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that is reported as being highly uncomfortable. However, it is also fortunately 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 to extend further down to your buttocks, legs, and finally to the bottom of each foot. The sciatic nerve can become “pinched,” which causes a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in your lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.
How do back pain and sciatica develop?
General back pain typically develops as the result of an injury. This can be due to repetitive straining motions, such as leaning down multiple times throughout the day to pick up a toddler, or a more serious, sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident. Underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, can also cause immense pain and can lead to sciatica. Degenerative disc disease is a common condition resulting in back pain, which can be caused by poor posture or obesity. Those with this condition typically report dull, aching pains in their lower back.
Sciatica’s technical name is “lumbar radiculopathy.” People who develop this condition are generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Many different types of injuries can cause the development of sciatica, including arthritis, bone spurs, or any other injury that impacts the sciatic nerve. This may include a sports-related collision, a harsh fall, or something that occurs gradually over time through overuse, repetition, or general “wear and tear.”
Seek help for back pain and sciatica through physical therapy:
Back pain and sciatica are both completely treatable through physical therapy. Your Bethesda physical therapist will create a treatment plan for you that is dependent upon your diagnosis. The early stages of your physical therapy treatments will focus on pain relief, which may include ice and heat therapies, manual therapy, light exercises, or posture improvement.
Once you begin to improve, your physical therapist will expand on your exercises and stretches, focusing on increasing your strength and range of motion. For example, water aerobics are common forms of treatment for back pain and sciatica. Because it is a low-impact exercise that still allows you to stay active and regain strength.
If you are suffering from sciatica, your Bethesda physical therapist will implement specific leg stretches into your treatment plan to loosen the sciatic nerve. The overall goal of physical therapy for back pain and sciatica is to alleviate pain, improve range of motion. So you can get back to doing your normal daily activities without worrying about pain or discomfort.
If you are experiencing back pain or sciatica, contact Graham Therapy and Fitness at Bethesda, MD to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists. No matter how severe the pain may be. Physical therapists will help you get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
There are a large number of conditions that can result in back pain. For example, poor posture, car accidents, and sports-related injuries are just a few of the ways that someone may develop back pain. Injury is the most common cause of back pain. This can happen in one of two ways: 1) an instant, sudden trauma, such as a car accident, or 2) repetitive use that puts excessive stress on the back over time, such as bending down several times throughout the week to pick up boxes. Some other factors that may contribute to your back pain include degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, fractures, herniated disc, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and tumors of the spine.
Back pain commonly results from a muscle strain or injury; however, it can also develop as a result of an underlying condition, such as a herniated disc, sciatica, or degenerative disc disease. Poor posture, car accidents, and sports-related injuries are also common ways that someone may develop back pain. Your physical therapist will focus on treating the root of your back pain, in order to help you regain mobility, function, and comfort.
You can treat your back pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can address back pain by helping to improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted massage to reduce tension. In many situations, working with a physical therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain, and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.
It is common that the muscles used to support the lower back may become weakened from inactivity. We’ll prescribe targeted, easy-to-do exercises that we will walk you through, in order to help your back muscles regain their strength. This will help provide greater support to your spine and reduce any inflammation you may be experiencing. While the best exercises for your back pain are relative to your specific conditions, some common ones your physical therapist may have you do include spine stretches, bridges, and pelvic tilts.