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Back Pain and Sciatica

How do you know if your back pain has become chronic?

All of us have pulled a back muscle at some point that results in needing to spend a day or two cozied up to an ice pack and a heating pad. But when serious back and lower body pain, as well as stiffness or numbness problems make it hard to function, you may have sciatica.

What types of physical therapy treat back pain and sciatica?

Working on strength, flexibility, and circulation are all crucial components to treating sciatic back and lower body pain. Among the most common categories of treatments for sciatica in physical therapy are:

  • Low-impact aerobics: to encourage circulation of nutrients and body fluids (as well pain-killing endorphins) to the areas that need it most. Most aerobic activity can be done outside of your physical therapy session.  These include walking or swimming. Your physical therapist can show you methods to work around your sciatic stiffness and pain as you do so.

  • Stretching exercises: to boost flexibility. Sciatica often causes spasms, tightness, and limited range of motion in your back and legs. Various moves such as hamstring stretches and lower-back moves like the “cobra” or the sitting torso twist will loosen muscles and boost mobility.

  • Strength building moves: to tone the tendons, ligaments, and columns that support your spine. Working your abs, hips, and glutes will all result in a stronger core that resists lower back pain and sciatica.

What is sciatica?

When nerves in your lower back become pinched or compressed, the resulting pain, tingling, and numbness can affect your back, buttocks, groin and legs. Often you’ll feel it on one side only.

Several underlying causes can result in this nerve compression in your lower back. In most cases it is a bone spur or herniated disc pressing into the nerve. But sciatica has also been known to occur when a tumor grows in the area or when there’s spinal degeneration and narrowing, which can happen with age.

Ready to eradicate your pain?

Our patients are often referred to us by their primary physicians or by a specialist - and we’ll continue to work with your medical team to treat the specific cause of your pain. Our highly trained physical therapists will also give you a full evaluation including a spinal alignment assessment, simple tests to evaluate muscle strength in the areas that support your back and lower body, and range-of-motion evaluations.

To get started on your back pain and sciatica relief treatment plan contact us at our Lewiston, ID center with our dedicated team of physical therapists today.

Physical Therapist

How do i know if my back pain is serious? 

The pain you experience in your back may either be acute or chronic, depending on how it was sustained. Acute pain means that it lasts for a short time and is usually considered severe. Chronic pain means that it lasts generally three months or longer and it can either cause dull or severe persistent pain. The pain you experience is typically either rooted in your back muscles or the bones in your spine. If your pain is severe enough to hinder you from doing daily tasks, if it suddenly worsens, or if it has lasted longer than three months, then it is time to seek the help of a physical therapist.

How do I get relief from back pain?

You can treat your back pain with physical therapy. Physical therapy can address back pain by helping to improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted massage to reduce tension. In many situations, working with a physical therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.

What is the best physical therapy treatment for back pain

Your physical therapist will design a treatment plan based on your specific needs. Your individualized treatment plan will incorporate the best methods possible for relieving your pain, facilitating the healing process, and restoring function and movement to the affected area(s) of your back. Your initial appointment will consist of a comprehensive evaluation.   The evaluation will help your physical therapist discover which forms of treatment will be best for the orthopedic, neurologic, or cardiovascular condition you are experiencing. The main stages of your plan will focus on pain relief, which may include any combination of ice and heat therapies, manual therapy, posture improvement, targeted stretches and exercises, or any other treatment that your physical therapist may deem fit. While there is no singular method for relieving back pain, your physical therapist will make sure you receive the best treatments for your needs.