Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sciatica


Leg Pain
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. – Attributed to Thomas Edison

What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a natural method of healthcare that treats the causes of physical problems, such as low-back, hip and leg pain, rather than just the symptoms. Physiotherapy is based on a simple but powerful premise: With a normally functioning spine and nerves and a healthy lifestyle, your body is better able to heal itself. That’s because the spinal cord, which is protected by the spine, is the main pathway of your nervous system. The nervous system controls movement, feeling and function throughout your body.

What causes Sciatica?
Sciatica is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body. It runs from your lower spine, through your buttocks and into your leg and foot. When the sciatic nerve is inflammed it can cause numbness, tingling, pain or weakness in your lower back and leg.

• Inflamed Joint - If a bone (vertebra) in your lower back isn’t moving properly or is out of position, the joint can become inflamed and irritate the sciatic nerve.

• Bulging Disc - If one of the cushions (discs) between your vertebrae is bulging, it can irritate or put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

• Muscle Spasm - If a muscle in your lower back or buttocks is inflamed or tightening (in spasm), it can irritate or put pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Can Physiotherapy Care Help Me?
Your physiotherapist looks at your overall health – focusing not only on your sciatic but also on your lifestyle. This total approach to wellness helps determine the best treatment for your problem.

History
To help find the cause of your sciatica, you and your physiotherapist discuss your symptoms, such as where you feel pain. Your physiotherapist also asks about any prior injuries, your health history and your lifestyle, including work related and leisure activities.

Physical Exam
Physical, orthopedic (bone and muscle), and neurological (nerve) tests can help reveal the condition of the vertebrae, discs and muscles in your spine. Your physiotherapist gently touches and moves your spine to locate muscle spasms and pain and to see how well each vertebra moves.

Tests
X-rays may be done to reveal any problems with your vertebrae. If needed other imaging tests, such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), may be used to show detailed images of discs, nerves and other soft tissue.

Diagnosis
Based on the results of your exam and tests, you physiotherapist may recommend a treatment program to relieve the irritation that’s causing your pain and other symptoms. If needed, your physiotherapist also consults with your referring or family doctor.

How Does a Physiotherapist Treat Sciatica?
Your physiotherapist is trained to restore the health of your spine and sciatic nerve. Special physiotherapy methods may relieve the irritation that’s causing your low-back or leg pain.

Spinal Adjustments
Your treatment depends on the cause of your sciatica. During a spinal adjustment, your physiotherapist gently presses on your spine to relieve irritated nerves and increase movement in your joints.

Related Treatment
Your physiotherapist may suggest other types of treatment to relieve irritated nerves. These may include electrical stimulation, ice or heat, massage, traction or ultrasound. Your physiotherapist can discuss these options with you.

What Can I Do to Keep My Back in Shape?
Whether you’re lying down, standing or sitting, keep your spine straight and well supported. Be sure to follow the exercise program your physiotherapist gives you.

To help mold and align your spine, lie down for 15-20 minutes a day with a small pillow or small rolled-up towel under your neck and lower back. Keep your knees slightly bent. Check with your physiotherapist before trying this.

Spinal Checkups
Just as you need regular dental exams, you also need regular spinal exams. Even if you don’t have symptoms, physiotherapy is one of the best ways to manage or prevent spinal problems and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

To book an appointment call 604-520-7375 or visit our website at http://www.physiotherapycentres.com/

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