Sciatic nerve pain is often called sciatica. It typically causes unilateral lower back pain that radiates down your hip, buttock, and leg. Sciatic nerve pain can also cause numbness and tingling in your legs and feet, and in some cases, balance and gait problems. While over-the-counter pain medications can sometimes help, other interventions such as physical therapy may be necessary for complete relief of your symptoms. Here are some benefits of physical therapy you may enjoy if you have sciatic nerve pain.
Decreased Inflammation And Pain
Sciatic nerve pain is often the result of sciatic nerve compression and inflammation. Physical therapy helps promote circulation and optimal blood flow to the inflamed sciatic nerve to help decrease inflammation and promote healing. Physical therapy is sometimes coupled with chiropractic manual adjustments to further help strengthen the lower back, ease pain, and reduce inflammation of the muscles in the lower back.
Depending upon the severity of your sciatica, your chiropractic physician may recommend starting physical therapy right away or waiting until your symptoms subside a little so that you can perform your therapy exercises more comfortably. It is important to note that while your therapy may help relieve your symptoms, you may need to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen an hour or so before your sessions begin so that you can be as flexible as possible and have more range of motion while performing your exercises.
Promote Restorative Sleep
Because sciatic nerve pain can be debilitating, you may not get quality sleep at night. Physical therapy can help promote restorative sleep patterns through a couple of different mechanisms. The primary mechanism is through pain relief. When you are no longer in pain, you will naturally sleep better and deeper. Another way your therapy session can help you enjoy quality sleep is through the release of neurotransmitters known as endorphins and serotonin.
When these substances are released into your bloodstream, they promote feelings of well-being and they may also decrease your perception of pain. Furthermore, the release of neurotransmitters resulting from physical therapy exercises can prepare you for a good night's sleep by making you feel drowsy and calm.
Even after your sciatica has completely resolved, your chiropractor may recommend keeping up with your therapy exercises and making them part of your daily routine because they can be beneficial to your overall health.
If you experience any of the above symptoms of sciatica, make an appointment with your chiropractor. After a comprehensive examination, they can then develop an effective plan of care suited to your individual needs.