The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body, beginning in your lower back before splitting and running down each leg. Because of its size and length, it’s not uncommon for this nerve to become impinged or damaged somewhere along its path, and that can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
There are a few different ways that sciatic nerve impingement can be treated, and as you might imagine, physical therapy is one of the most common and effective treatments. But what are some of the indications that suggest your sciatic nerve compression would respond well to physical therapy? Below, we explore three signs that suggest you should consider physical therapy for your sciatic nerve pain.
Treating Your Sciatica With Physical Therapy
If you’re dealing with any of the following symptoms, know that you may find relief by turning to a physical therapist.
- Inhibited Gait – If your normal walking pattern has been affected by nerve discomfort, it’s a good idea to connect with a physical therapist. Our team has a number of assistive technologies that can assess your gait and really understand how your nerve issue is affecting your ability to walk normally. From there, we can tailor a physical therapy routine that targets a specific area to reduce inflammation or decompress the affected nerve. Continuing to walk while your gait is affected only tends to cause more nerve damage, which will lead to worse symptoms and make it harder to effectively treat the problem.
- Worsening Pain – Sciatica discomfort may come and go in waves, but if it’s minor and short-lived, you may be able to get by with some posture adjustments and anti-inflammatory medications. However, if pain is starting to become worse or chronically present, you will need some more hands-on care to address the issue. Similar to the above point, if you keep doing the same actions that led to pain in the first place, there’s no reason to think you’ll find relief, and more often than not your symptoms will only get worse. Connect with a physical therapist to strengthen unstable areas that are compressing your sciatic nerve and reduce pain instead of allowing it to worsen.
- Numbness/Muscle Weakness – Finally, if you’ve noticed that you are experiencing numbness or muscle weakness in your lower extremities, it’s time to talk to a physical therapist about working to combat these symptoms. Muscle weakness and numbness can cause balance issues and increase your risk of a significant fall, which will only add to your discomfort. Through careful exercises designed to strengthen your muscles and expand your natural range of motion, we can help stabilize areas that are unstable and leading to nerve compression. Numbness may be less uncomfortable than pain, but it’s still a sign that your nerve impingement would benefit from some physical therapy exercises.
The team at OrthoRehab Specialists has a wealth of experience treating different levels of sciatic nerve compression, and we’re confident that we can set you up with an individualized treatment program to help calm or alleviate your symptoms. For more information, or for assistance with a different physical issue, reach out to our team today at (612) 339-2041.
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