Low back pain, on its own, can be a major nuisance to everyday life. But for some individuals, pain in the lower back may also be accompanied by pain and other symptoms that radiate out through the leg and possibly down to the toes. This is called sciatica, which is one of the most bothersome conditions that can affect this region. If you are looking for sciatica treatment in Hanford, please continue reading. We hope this will help.
The sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in our bodies. It starts in the lower spine and runs through the buttocks and into the thigh, all the way down to the foot. This nerve serves an important role in communicating messages from the spinal cord to the legs and feet, and when it becomes damaged, sciatica results.
The term sciatica is not exactly a medical diagnosis itself, but instead, it’s used to describe a set of symptoms related to lower back issues. Common problems affecting the lower back that can cause sciatica include a lumbar herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis. When any of these conditions occur, the sciatic nerve may become either compressed or irritated, and this will eventually lead to the development of symptoms.
Sciatica Symptoms Vary Which Makes Treatment Difficult
Sciatica symptoms may differ from person to person, but some of the most common include:
- Burning or stinging pain in the leg
- Pain on one side of the buttock or leg pain that gets worse with sitting
- Decreased muscle strength
- Pain radiating down the leg that may also go into the foot
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg, foot or toes
- Difficulty standing or walking due to symptoms
When compared with patients who have low back pain only, individuals with sciatica will generally have more persistent and severe pain, a worse prognosis and are disabled and absent from work for a longer period of time. This highlights the need to effectively treat sciatica symptoms in addition to low back pain. In the majority of cases, surgery is not necessary, and a comprehensive course of physical therapy is all that is needed to bring about significant benefits for patients. These benefits of therapy can be seen in one study that applied a popular technique used by physical therapists called mobilization. Here’s the conclusion of the study that demonstrated the value of physical therapist directed mobilizations:
Application of mobilization techniques for the sciatic nerves may promote healing of the soft tissues by stimulating the functions of the nervous system to improve nervous system adaptability and decrease sensitivity, helping to alleviate the symptoms.
So if low back and leg pain are holding you back from enjoying your life, it may be time to try physical therapy. Contact our Visalia office or our Hanford office and set up a consultation with one of our expert physical therapists to find out more and start a program that will alleviate your pain and improve your function, so you can resume all the activities you’ve been missing out on.