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Thread: Sciatica First Aid: Exercise for Long-term Pain Relief

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    Sciatica First Aid: Exercise for Long-term Pain Relief

    Once pain control for sciatica has been achieved, gentle stretching of the affected area, and low-impact exercise, (such as walking two to three miles) will help bring healing nutrients to the affected area and help to restore function.

    As with any back treatment, care should be taken to not further aggravate the situation. It is always advisable to consult with a doctor with any questions or concerns that may arise during the course of care.

    Article continues belowFor long-term relief of sciatica pain, most experts agree that a regular routine of stretching and exercise is crucial.

    Patients may find it takes several weeks or months to develop flexibility in the spine and soft tissues, but may also find that the stretching helps bring sustained pain relief. The spinal column and its contiguous muscles, ligaments and tendons are all designed to move, and limitations in this motion can accentuate pain and make one more susceptible to re-injury.

    Stretching exercise should focus on increasing flexibility in the disc, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Additionally, it is important to stretch muscles not directly involved with the injured area, such as the arms and legs. For example, the hamstring muscles play a major role in lower back pain, as it is clear that hamstring tightness limits motion in the hip, which increases stress across the low back, especially during forward bending.

    Building strength is also important to help prevent and/or lessen future recurrences of sciatic pain. Specific exercises designed to strengthen the “core” or trunk muscles are most important in the management of low back pain.

    Depending on the underlying cause of sciatica (such as a herniated disc vs. a degenerated disc), different exercises may be prescribed. Two common forms of strengthening exercises to treat sciatica are McKenzie exercises and Dynamic Lumbar Stabilization exercises. Learning which exercises to do, as well as how to do them correctly, is typically best learned with the help of a qualified spine specialist.

    Manipulation and physical therapy

    Another treatment option that can be helpful for many causes of for sciatica is manipulation by a qualified health care provider (most commonly a chiropractor or an osteopath). The type of manipulation, amount of force, the direction of the manipulation and the frequency of application are taken into consideration when managing patients complaining of sciatica. Combining this with various forms of physical therapy such as exercise therapies can be very effective.

    Other considerations with sciatic pain

    Though uncommon, when the sciatic condition worsens, it is most important to obtain a prompt evaluation. This is especially true if progressive muscle weakness, foot drop, or loss of bowel or bladder control occur, as these symptoms require immediate emergency attention and permanent problems can result if not managed promptly. In general, whenever questions arise about the course of care and associated signs and symptoms, health care provision should be obtained and the questions answered.

    The good news is that most cases of sciatica will resolve naturally within a few weeks. The treatments described here can help alleviate pain until things return to normal, and help speed recovery, as well as avoid recurrence. Every patient is different of course, and not all sciatica treatments will work for all cases of sciatica.

    Sciatic pain can be mild and intermittent, but this type of pain along the large sciatic nerve can also be searing and unbearable. For severe cases of sciatic pain, it makes sense to get a firm or definitive diagnosis regarding the underlying cause of the sciatica (e.g. a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis) and discuss additional treatment options with a spine specialist. In addition to the remedies discussed above, there are a wide variety of additional treatment options, including injections, surgery, and more.


    Is Spinal Stenosis Causing my Leg Pain?

    Dr. Stephen Hochschuler speaks about Spinal Stenosis. He explains the spinal canal structure, how one can get Spinal Stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. Lastly Dr. Hochschuler goes over treatment options, including medications, epidural steroid injections, and spinal surgery.

    Watch Video:


    Spinal Stenosis Causing Leg Pain? | Spine-Health



    General Info:

    Description of Sciatica

    Sciatica is a layman's term for a pinched nerve that can cause pain that runs from the buttocks down the back of the leg.

    The sciatic nerve is about an inch or so long in the buttocks made of multiple spinal nerves. When people commonly refer to sciatica it is not necessarily a problem of the sciatic nerve, it's a problem of the nerve when it is being pinched as it exits from the spine from a herniated disc or a bone spur.

    Causes of Sciatica

    Sciatica is a form of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to the sciatic nerve located in the back of the leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg and the sole of the foot.

    Sciatica is primarily caused by pressure on a nerve from a herniated disc or bone spur (also referred to as a ruptured disc, bulging disc, slipped disk, etc.). A herniated lumbar disc in the spine may cause symptoms that simulate the symptoms of sciatic nerve dysfunction.

    The problem is often diagnosed as "radiculopathy", meaning that a disc has protruded from its normal position in the vertebral column of the spine and is putting pressure on the radicular nerve (nerve root), which connects with the sciatic nerve, therefore termed sciatica.

    Other causes are direct trauma, prolonged external pressure on the nerve, and pressure on the nerve from nearby body structures. It can also be caused by entrapment -- pressure on the nerve where it passes through a narrow structure. The damage slows or prevents conduction of impulses through the nerve.

    The sciatic nerve can also be injured by fractures of the pelvis or other trauma to the buttocks or thigh. Prolonged sitting or lying with pressure on the buttocks may also injure it. Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, can typically damage many different nerves, including the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve may also be harmed by pressure from masses such as a tumor or abcess, or by bleeding in the pelvis.

    Last edited by trimurtulu; 11-30-2008 at 10:49 PM.

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