Sciatica pain is known under several names, including neuralgia, lumbar radiculopathy, and sciatic neuritis. The bottom line is the same: this issue is becoming one of the leading causes of pain worldwide.
Millions of people are physically, psychologically, and even socially disabled due to sciatica pain. This is not surprising at all, given that sciatica is quite difficult to deal with and it has an enormous effect on their daily lives and simple day-to-day activities.
The pain affects the lower back and gradually spreads to the leg, making the normal day-to-day activities difficult to bear. Finding the underlying cause and its characteristics is the first step towards successful sciatica treatment.
As mentioned above, the root of sciatica pain is located in the lower back, radiating to the buttock, thighs, and the lower leg. The cause of this pain a compressed or pinched nerve root in the lower back, which results in numbness, weakness, and pain in the leg. The nerve root can be compressed on several points on the lower back.
According to most health care professionals, conservative care should be the first step towards a successful treatment while surgery should be the final course of action. At this point, health care professionals come into play, including physiotherapists and chiropractors.
1. Heat/Ice Therapy
This therapy is beneficial during the early stages of sciatica. As the name itself suggests, it uses either heat or ice packs to reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain. Heat loosens the muscles while ice reduces inflammation and swelling.
2. McKenzie Exercises
These exercises are often recommended by physiotherapists and chiropractors as an effective way to centralize the pain (bringing it back to the lower back) and reduce leg pain.
3. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Many people have reported getting a relief from sciatica pain with the help of Chinese medicine methods and acupuncture. The latter involves a use of small needles which are inserted into the muscles through the skin, targeting specific points along the meridian channels.
The needles cause micro trauma to the muscles, encouraging the release of endorphins, hormones which soothe nerve/muscle pain and alleviate sciatica symptoms.
4. Lumbar Spine Traction and Decompression Therapy
This treatment is often used as last resort and in cases when the patient hasn’t benefited from other treatments. It involves manual and instrumental-assisted traction therapy which helps spread the lumbar vertebrae, allowing the disc material to become re-absorbed into the outer disc material.