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Can Physical Therapy Alleviate My Sciatica for Good?

Can Physical Therapy Alleviate My Sciatica for Good?

You’ve been going to the doctor for back pain or sharp pain that radiates down your leg and learn that you have sciatica. Your sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body, has become compressed and inflamed. 

Sciatica isn’t the root cause of your pain; it’s a condition that develops because of any number of musculoskeletal conditions such as a herniated disc, a slipped disc, a degenerated and thinning disc, or spinal stenosis. 

You’ve tried pain medications, but they don’t work. Now what? 

Our board-certified pain management specialists with Apollo Pain Management treat many patients with sciatica. We understand you need relief from the sharp, throbbing, or burning sensations running through your buttock and down your leg. It’s hard to concentrate on a task, much less enjoy yourself, when your leg feels like fireworks are exploding in it. 

Medical treatment for sciatica

We provide a treatment plan that suits your individual circumstances. 

Pain medication

If diagnostic tests indicate you have sciatica and you’re in severe or chronic pain, our caring staff can provide a prescription for pain relief that’s stronger than over-the-counter medications. That can help temporarily, but we don’t want you to rely on pain medication for the long term. 

Epidural injection 

Your Apollo Pain Management physician can provide an epidural injection around the site of the sciatic nerve roots at the location where your pain is beginning. You have a total of 33 vertebrae in your back, with five of them in the lumbar or lower spine, where your problem resides. 

If you’re going to receive an epidural injection, we provide you with complete pre- and post-procedure instructions. Your doctor administers local anesthesia via injection near the site of the epidural injection. Your provider then uses X-ray guidance to place the needle in the correct epidural space around your sciatic nerve. The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes. 

Physical therapy 

Once your initial inflammation has calmed down, your providers explain the importance of physical therapy to help you recover from a sciatica attack and prevent future ones. Physical therapy is one of the standard treatments for sciatica; it helps lower your pain level and improves your quality of life.

If you have a herniated disc or a degenerated disc, physical therapy doesn’t change that, but the exercise increases your circulation and rushes nutrient-rich blood to the area. It strengthens the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the offending nerve, which helps reduce both pain and the incidence of muscle spasms.

A physical therapist may use a variety of techniques when treating sciatica. You might learn to do exercises such as a plank to strengthen your core, straight leg raises and side leg raises for strengthening leg muscles, and more. Your therapist prescribes a routine that you should do every day a certain number of times — usually, at least twice. 

Your therapist likely also performs joint manipulation and mobilization, in which they apply thrust force quickly around a joint to help restore movement. Another technique is myofascial release, which opens up muscles that have contracted, easing tension and helping prevent spasms.

Does physical therapy cure sciatica? 

If you follow your therapist’s guidance and keep up with stretches and exercises you learn in therapy, you’ll likely experience significant pain reduction. Because sciatica isn’t the root cause of your pain, it doesn’t “cure” the condition. However, sciatica can be managed so that you can live a full life. 

Call or request an appointment today through our online portal at one of our two convenient locations in Sun City Center or Bradenton, Florida. We’re sciatica specialists.

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