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How To Relieve Sciatica in 5 Natural Ways

Have you ever experienced aching pain in the back or buttock area that radiates down your leg?  You may have sciatica.  This condition affects 1 out of 10 people, typically between the ages of 25-45.  The clinicians at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center have helped many patients dealing with sciatica.  So what is sciatica and what causes this condition?

Symptoms 
Sciatica is typically felt as a dull, aching pain in the lower back and buttock area. Sometimes it is sharp pain depending on the movement.  Sciatica is generally on one side of the body but can be on both sides.  In addition to the pain, people with sciatica might also experience numbness or tingling radiating down to certain areas of the leg.

Causes
Sciatica is an entrapment and irritation to the sciatic nerve.  This nerve passes from the lower spine, down through the buttock, and supplies the back of the leg down to the foot. Typically, sciatica is caused by poor mechanical movement of the hips, pelvis, or lower back.  This causes an abnormal strain and stress to the gluteus and hip rotator muscles. Certain people are more likely to get sciatica because this nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle in the buttock.  This makes the sciatic nerve more susceptible to irritation.

Pain Relief
The good news is that more than 90% of those suffering with sciatica will get better with conservative treatment.  Physical therapy is a very effective way to relive this pain.  It focuses on improving the mechanical movement of the hip joints, pelvis, and spinal joints to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.  Furthermore, since many muscles are impacted and often weakened, physical therapy helps restore normal muscle function.  This balances the spinal, gluteal, and leg muscles.  Our clinicians at LSTC have been very successful in helping patients suffering from this condition get back to living life pain free.  Here are some tips to help relive your sciatica:

  • Improve your posture – One of the long-term causes of sciatica is poor posture.  Make sure that you have a lumbar support in your work chair and in your car that you can take with you to different places.  Look at the way your computer and desk area is set up.  Avoid soft couches and recliners.  Physical therapists are experts in ergonomics and can teach you the proper posture setup for workstations and home activities.
  • Change your position frequently – Sitting puts direct pressure on the sciatic nerve. Therefore, it is important to change positions frequently.  Consider getting an adjustable standing desk if you have to spend most of your day sitting at a computer.  If you are suffering from sciatica, try lying down for 10 minutes, standing for 10 minutes, and the sitting for 10 minutes.  Rotate this throughout the day as much as you can.
  • Try magnesium – Experts say magnesium can sooth irritated nerves and many people have magnesium deficiencies.  Try taking a magnesium and calcium supplement to soothe pain.  Keep in mind, if you are on medications, consult your physician first.
  • Improve your hip strength and flexibility – The buttock muscles support the normal walking motions we perform everyday.  They become weak and tight with prolonged sitting, especially at a desk job.  This causes severe strain on the smaller hip muscles around the sciatic nerve, when walking or standing.  This is just one of many things our clinicians can help sciatica patients improve with certain exercises and stretches.
  • Get your body mechanics checked – Most of us do not realize that we have changed our normal body movements because of limited joint motion or muscle weakness.  Our body is amazing at adapting to and compensating for problems.  However, it can only do this for so long before abnormal strain and stress occurs.  Our physical therapists can give patients a thorough biomechanical movement analysis that will pinpoint the exact problem that is causing your sciatica. They can formulate a treatment plan that will help you naturally restore your movement, function, and quickly relieve your pain.

For more information on how you can avoid lower back pain and sciatica, call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY, 703-450-4300, to speak with one of our clinicians about how physical therapy can help you.  We can put the spring back in your step and help you LIVE LIFE PAIN FREE!