Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body that runs from your lower back down your legs, ending at the feet. People who experience sciatica pains usually report the the sensation as “shooting pains” down one side of their body. Sciatica symptoms do not always require physical therapy intervention; however, PT services can help decrease the pain and discomfort you may be feeling.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell when treatment is needed, but these 3 reasons may indicate that you are in need of physical therapy:
When your pain suddenly becomes more severe.
The severity of pain you feel can change depending on how compressed your sciatic nerve becomes. The more compressed it is, the more painful it will be. Symptoms may include severe shooting pain, weakness or numbness on one side, or the inability to move your feet. If your sciatic nerve becomes compressed in the area that controls your bladder and/or bowel function, you may lose control of those functions. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with both your primary doctor and your physical therapist to discuss a treatment plan for easing your pain and getting you back to your normal function. Your doctor may also run a number of tests to rule out any other underlying conditions.
When the pain stems from an injury.
With mild sciatica, your symptoms can build up over time, and they may even go away on their own. However, if your sciatica symptoms show up immediately, following an injury or trauma (such as a car accident, sports injury, or harsh fall), it is important to consult with your doctor and your physical therapist. These symptoms will most likely be severe since they are the result of an intense impact surrounding the sciatic nerve, and it is important to analyze the extent of the damage. No matter what course of treatment your primary physician recommends, it is likely that he or she will also recommend physical therapy.
When your home remedies begin to fail.
There are some common home remedies you can try, to help ease some of your sciatica symptoms. For example, alternating with ice and heat compresses, or sleeping with a pillow between your knees can help alleviate some pain and stiffness. Sitting in a reclining chair can also help provide some relief, as it redirects the pressure from your lower back. Going for a walk or taking part in other gentle exercises can also help in getting your body moving so it doesn’t become too tight.
These are some commonly used at-home treatment methods for pain management, but they unfortunately do not always work. If your home treatments are having little-to-no effect in reducing your pain and restricted motion, or if your symptoms persist for more than a week without improvement, you should give us a Call at Peak Wellness! Whether you want to schedule an appointment or learn more about all of our other services we would be happy to assist!