Sciatic nerve pain can be annoying or debilitating. It may hurt to stand for long periods, or you may find it difficult to find a comfortable sitting position during a movie.
Dr. David Berkower specializes in physical medicine, rehabilitation, and pain management. If you’re a sciatica sufferer in the Pembroke Pines, Florida, area, Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation can help you get long-lasting relief from pain and discomfort. Here, he explains how physical therapy — which he can prescribe — can help you overcome the pain of sciatica.
Understanding the underlying cause of sciatica
Sciatica is a set of symptoms that occurs as a result of pressure on your sciatic nerve. Typically, a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease lead to a compressed sciatic nerve — the largest single nerve in your body. You have two of them, each one running from your lower spine, through your buttocks, and down the back of each leg.
When a bulging disc compresses the nerve, or spinal stenosis causes your spinal column to narrow, you feel pain on one side of your body, anywhere from your lower back to your feet. It’s rare that you’d have sciatica on both your left and right sides at the same time. The pressure on your sciatic nerve may cause mild pain at first, but for many people, it becomes a chronic, excruciating condition.
The good news is that physical therapy can help relieve pain and pressure on your sciatic nerve. It’s a natural, noninvasive way to treat the condition so you can focus on living your life, rather than on your sciatica symptoms.
How physical therapy works to alleviate sciatica
Physical therapy does two important things for your sciatica symptoms: First, it helps strengthen your lower back; second, it stretches tight piriformis and hamstring muscles. Dr. Berkower often recommends a combination of gentle stretching and strengthening exercises as part of a comprehensive sciatica treatment plan to help you get long-term pain relief.
Men and women who regularly participate in a physical therapy program typically recover more quickly from the pain of sciatica and are less likely to have future, recurring, debilitating episodes.
Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation doesn’t have a physical therapist on staff, but Dr. Berkower can write a prescription for a physical therapy program based on your individual needs.
Exercises that help relieve pain
If you prefer not to make PT appointments at a separate facility but still want the benefits, Dr. Berkower, is happy to prescribe and model a regimen of exercises that can help reduce your sciatica pain. You can do the exercises he prescribes anywhere and anytime they fit into your busy schedule.
Dr. Berkower customizes a complete sciatica treatment plan based on your individual symptoms and the point along your sciatic nerve where your pain originates. Exercises that can help relieve pain include strengthening and stretching exercises for your lower back, abdomen, buttocks, hamstrings, and hip muscles.
Additionally, low-impact aerobics or cardiovascular exercises may include:
- Tai chi
- Stationary cycling
- Elliptical or step machine workouts
Low-impact aerobics as part of your physical therapy program has the unique benefit of releasing endorphins — your body’s natural painkillers — to reduce sciatic nerve pain. Regular movement is important because it allows healing nutrients to flow more freely to the source of your pain.
Before beginning a physical therapy program to relieve your sciatica symptoms, it’s important to remember that what works for you may not work for someone else. Dr. Berkower recommends exercises that address your specific condition.
The benefits of physical therapy
For anyone wants to avoid invasive procedures or medication, physical therapy is an ideal natural remedy. Physical therapies have additional health benefits, too, and may help you regain strength and endurance, have more energy to participate in activities you enjoy, and feel better overall.
Whether you have acute pain or you’re a long-time sciatica sufferer, Dr. Berkower and the team at Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation can help. Click the “Book online” button on this website to request a consultation, or call the office today.