Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatment

Sciatic Nerve Treatment – Part 2

Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatment – Part 2

Your physiotherapist will teach you proper positioning techniques to help take the stress off your low back and ease your sciatic nerve pain symptoms.  When your pain starts to settle down, stretches will help to loosen up your muscles and release the tension that has built up.  Some stretches will also help to  increase the mobility of your sciatic nerve, and help restore flexibility. Hopefully at this point you are moving past the acute phase of sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica.  This section will describe appropriate stretching that is commonly prescribed in the treatment of sciatic nerve pain.

It is important to stretch your hamstring muscles.  Your hamstrings are the large muscle group in the back of your thigh, running from your buttocks to behind the knee.  A safe and easy way to stretch this muscle to avoid further injuring your back is to do so from a lying down position.  You will need a long towel or belt.  Wrap the towel or belt around the bottom of your foot or heel, and raise your leg up towards the ceiling, with your knee straight until you feel a pull or stretch behind the knee or back of the thigh.  Hold this for 15-20 seconds and repeat 2x on each leg.

Sciatic Nerve Pain Hamstring Stretch

The sciatic nerve follows the path of the hamstring along the back of the thigh, and for this reason you may not be able to fully raise your leg.  Depending on the severity or cause of your sciatic never pain, you may feel a pull that goes into your low back, numbness down the leg, or a burning sensation in the leg.  If this occurs just go as far as you feel comfortable.  It is important to do this stretch to maintain mobility and flexibility both in your muscles and your nerve for sciatic nerve treatment.  The hamstrings pull on the pelvis which consequently causes a pull on the low back, so if this muscle is tight it could further aggravate your low back pain and/or sciatica.

With sciatic nerve pain and sciatic nerve treatment, another important muscle to stretch is your glute muscle, or your buttocks.  Again, this muscle follows along the sciatic nerve, and when tight, pulls on the pelvis which consequently pulls on the lower back.  This stretch may be a bit more difficult, and is most easily done lying down.  Lie down on your back, and bend both of your knees.  Cross one foot on the opposite knee.  Grab the thigh of the leg that is still touching the floor, and pull that knee toward your chest.  You should feel a pull in the side of the buttocks of the crossed leg.

Sciatic Nerve Pain Glute Stretch

You may notice an asymmetry between sides, as the affected side with sciatic nerve pain will likely feel tighter.  However, it is still a good idea to stretch both sides.  Again, for sciatic nerve treatment stretches, (or any other stretches) hold for 15 seconds, do 2 repetitions on each side, at least two times per day.

Sciatica Treatment

Sciatic Nerve Pain – What is it?

What is Sciatica?

What is Sciatic Nerve Pain , or Sciatica?

Sciatica is a fairly common condition that refers to pain that originates in the sciatic nerve and often causes pain in the low back, buttocks, and down the leg.  This can range from mild to severe, intermittent or constant, chronic or acute.  Acute refers to the initial stages, and chronic refers to the later stages.  The pain follows the path of the sciatic nerve from the low back down the leg, and more commonly affects only one side.  Sciatica is not a condition in itself, but rather a set of symptoms that occur as a result of inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve – hence the term “sciatica.”

Sciatic nerve pain is very common and can affect people of all ages, however it is more prevalent as people reach their late thirties or beyond.  It affects both men and women.  When severe the pain can be quite crippling, making it difficult to walk, sit for long periods, go up stairs, or basically carry out a normal day.  It can also be quite a nuisance at times.   In the worst of cases, surgery may be required to correct the structural or mechanical cause of your symptoms.  Please note that surgery for sciatic nerve pain is rare and is usually due to a congenital defect,  structural abnormality, or trauma.  However, despite the possible severity of the symptoms (especially during the early or acute phase of sciatica), sciatic nerve pain is not usually a serious problem and in most cases will resolve with time and/or physiotherapy.

The word “sciatica” is a general term used to describe pain or a set of symptoms associated with irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve.   The medical community differentiates between two types of sciatica to help clarify the cause or origin ailment.  There are two different types of sciatica: true sciatica, or false sciatica.  True sciatica is caused by compression of the actual spinal nerve root in the lumbar spine or low back.  The main cause of this is a herniated disc, or a disc “bulge,” in the spine.  False sciatica, by contrast, is caused by compression peripheral to the spinal nerve root.  Please refer to the anatomy section of this website for a better explanation of nerve roots within the spinal cord and how they can be compressed.  Regardless of which type you have, the pain caused by true and false sciatica is identical.

Inflammation or irritation of the sciatic nerve, whether termed true or false sciatica, can be attributed to a number of causes, such as a disc herniation, piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis, and many others.  It can happen gradually, suddenly, or develop after the original presenting injury or condition.   For example, you may initially have low back pain, and if left untreated you may start to notice some tingling or shooing pains down your leg.  Due to the multiple causes of sciatica, treatment may vary depending on the cause.   Your physiotherapist will help you determine the cause and course of treatment.