How to treat sciatica?
Most cases of acute sciatica will pass without the need for treatment. You can follow this home self-help advice and usually help relieve the symptoms. However, for persistent sciatica, we suggest you may be advised to try a structured exercise program under the supervision of your Physical Therapist.
Do not aggravate your symptoms:
It is important to make use of positions that you find comfortable and avoid any particular movement or position that aggravates your symptoms. Such as seating for too long, driving, or cycling etc. Some people will prefer to sit and curl up into a ball, others may prefer to stand or lean backward. Make use of the position that brings you most relief.
If you have sciatica, it is important for you to remain as physically active. While bed rest may provide some temporary pain relief, prolonged bed rest may be unnecessary and hinder your recovery (Do not stay in bed).
Recommended exercises include walking and gentle stretching exercises such as piriformis and gluteus stretches.
Lying Glute Stretch
Begin lying on your back, cross one leg over the opposite knee and slowly bring the foot that is still on the floor up and towards your chest. When it is close enough, grab your knee from under the leg that is crossed on both sides with both hands. Slowly come out of the stretch and repeat. (Hold for 3-5 sec, repeat 5-8 times; both sides; perform at least once per day).
The sciatic nerve slider
- Begin in a seated position, There are two basic phases of the nerve mobilization.
- 1. Lift your head up until you are extending your neck and looking up to the ceiling
- 2. Stick out your chest until you are arching your lower back
- 3. Raise the leg that is affected by sciatica until the knee is straight and your toes are pointing up towards your knee.
- 4. Remember none of these movements should increase the sciatic or back pain.
1. Drop your leg fully until it is dangling
2. Bend your neck forward until your chin is against your chest
3. Allow your lower back to round forward into a slightly slouched position.
- Perform 12-20 slow repetitions every 2 hours in the 1st week.
- Heat and ice packs
Using heat or cold packs may help reduce pain.
Ice pack – wrap a bag of frozen peas in a damp tea towel. Do not leave on for more than 15 minutes and keep checking the skin for cold burns.
Hot Pack – these can be purchased from most pharmacies or you can use a hot water bottle (with bath temperature water not boiling water). Leave the heat on for 15 minutes and check your skin to prevent burns.
Lifting and handling
One of the biggest causes of the back injury, particularly at work, is people lifting or handling objects incorrectly. Learning the correct method for lifting and handling objects can help prevent sciatica. In our clinic, we coach our patients to first learn how to improve their lifting techniques step by step. Meanwhile, we help them with a customized strength training program to build overall strength and prevents any further injury.
You may benefit from a physical therapy assessment if the advice given in this page didn’t change your symptoms.
Dublin Sports Injury Clinic is a Physical Therapy Clinic based in Pearse Street, Dublin 2. We have a high volume of patients who are treated with low back pain. Initially, our treatment will be focusing on helping our patients to get pain free as quickly as possible. We educate our patients to understand the cause of their back pain and how they can stay pain-free. Our treatment and rehabilitation exercises will be customized for every patient and we show them the correct techniques and progression.
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Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. You can contact us if you would like to book an appointment or get some advice from our therapist.
References: Check here.