Back Pain & Sciatica Relief
The Commonalities and Differences of Back Pain and Sciatica
The American Physical Therapy Association reports that back pain is the most common type of pain across the United States. In fact, one out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the past three months. Back pain typically develops as the result of an injury or muscle strain, but it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether it is general back pain or sciatica.
Sciatica is a specific type of back pain that is extremely common. It develops from issues surrounding the nerves and can be felt in the lower back, legs, or buttocks. Whether you’re experiencing general back pain or sciatica pain, our physical therapists are licensed and trained in helping alleviate your discomfort. They can help restore your health and get you back to your optimum levels of physical function. In many cases, physical therapy treatments can even eliminate the need for harmful pain-management drugs, such as opioids, or an invasive surgical procedure. If you are suffering from back pain, contact The Fit Institute (TFI) today. One of our dedicated physical therapists will design a treatment plan specific for your needs, in order to provide relief and recovery.
What’s the difference between back pain and sciatica?
The term “back pain” is used to describe any of the numerous conditions that may lead to pain in the upper or lower back. Poor posture, car accidents, and sports-related injuries can all lead to back pain. No matter what the case may be, one of our physical therapists can set up a treatment plan based on your specific back pain, its location, and your medical history.
Back pain can be described as either acute or chronic. Acute pain means that it lasts for a short time and is usually severe. Chronic pain means that it lasts generally three months or longer and it can either cause persistent severe or dull pain. The pain you experience is typically either rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine.
Sciatica, a specific type of back pain, is typically reported as being very uncomfortable. The silver lining is that it is also easy to diagnose. People with sciatica suffer from pain along their sciatic nerve, which is the biggest nerve in the human body. The sciatic nerve begins at the lower back, splitting at the base of the spine to extend down the buttocks, both legs, and the bottom of each foot. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes “pinched” or otherwise damaged in some way, thus resulting in a “shooting,” “stinging,” or “burning” sensation in the lower back, buttocks, legs, or feet.
How do people develop back pain and sciatica?
General back pain typically develops from an injury. This can happen suddenly, or gradually over time. Back pain commonly develops from repetitive straining motions, such as bending down multiple times to pick up heavy boxes, or from a sudden trauma, such as a motor vehicle accident. Back pain can also result from underlying conditions, such as herniated discs, which can lead to sciatica. Degenerative disc disease is another common culprit for back pain, which is typically caused by obesity or poor posture. Those who suffer from degenerative disc disease usually report feeling dull, aching, and chronic pain in their lower back.
Sciatica, also known as “lumbar radiculopathy,” is a little more difficult to understand. People who develop sciatica are typically between the ages of 30-50, and there are several different conditions that can lead to it. Among the most common include arthritis, bone spurs, or any injury that affects the sciatic nerve. Common injuries that cause sciatica development include sports-related collisions, harsh falls, herniated discs, or anything that occurs gradually over time through overuse, repetition, or general “wear and tear.”
How can I find relief?
Fortunately, back pain and sciatica are both effectively treated through physical therapy. Our licensed physical therapists will help determine your diagnosis before creating your treatment plan. The main stages of your plan will focus on pain relief, which may include any combination of light exercises, manual therapy, ice and heat therapies, posture improvement, or any other treatment that your physical therapist deems fit.
As you progress and improve, your physical therapist will expand on your exercises and stretches by making them more intensive over time. This will help increase your overall strength and range of motion.
If you are diagnosed with sciatica, specific leg stretches will be implemented into your treatment plan, in order to loosen up the sciatic nerve. The overall goal of physical therapy for back pain and sciatica is to alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and strengthen the body. At The Fit Institute (TFI), we want to help you get back to living your daily life, without having to deal about pain or discomfort.
If you are suffering from back pain or sciatica, contact our physical therapy office in Chicago, IL to schedule an appointment. No matter how severe the pain may be, The Fit Institute (TFI) will help relieve it so you can get back to doing the activities you love.