Sciatica Recovery: The Three Stages

Our recovery is a top priority when we’re going through a health problem, especially when it causes pain in something as crucial as our back.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common type of back pain caused by problems with the sciatic nerves that run from our back down each leg. It’s painful enough to interrupt the activities we love, like sports or hiking.

Symptoms include:

  • Lower back or hip pain
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness, usually in just one leg.

Any condition that negatively affects the sciatic nerve could be causing sciatica, but the three most common causes are:

  • Herniated Disc. This is caused when one of the soft tissue discs between the spinal vertebrae is pushed out of its proper place and pinches against the sciatic nerve.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease. This condition causes the discs to break down and leak inflammatory proteins, damaging the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal Stenosis. Our vertebrae include a narrow passage that contains our spinal cord. This passage is known as the spinal canal. Some conditions common with aging can cause that canal to contract, impacting the spinal cord itself. This spinal stenosis can negatively affect the sciatic nerve.

Depending on the source, Sciatica pain can either self-resolve or become chronic. Most sciatica pain can be corrected at home with time, good posture, and exercise. However, if this isn’t true in your case, consult your doctor if the pain lasts longer than six weeks to determine if there’s an underlying condition that needs treatment.

Recovery from sciatica pain involves three key stages.

1. Lessening Pain

The tingling, numbness, weakness, and of course–the pain caused by sciatica are the top priority for you and your physical therapist. The right activities and exercises can resolve these issues, though it may take time and hard work.

Most patients who suffer from sciatica report the most pain during sedimentary activities—these activities include sitting behind a desk or lounging in bed. Being active with simple exercises will help ease the pain it gives you.

In addition, proper posture is important. If you have to sit, a straight hard-backed chair is more helpful than a soft lounge chair. This extends to your bed as well; an overly soft bed might only worsen the pain, so consider finding a firmer mattress to keep your back straight.

2. Recover Movement And Strength

Once the pain has eased up, use the opportunity to increase your range of movement and strength. If you go back to your previous lifestyle, the sciatica pain is likely to return. 

Instead, take this time to fortify yourself against it. Your physical therapist can guide you through appropriate exercises specifically designed to protect against future sciatica flare-ups.

3. Return To Normal

When your pain is gone and your body strengthened through exercise, it’s time to reintroduce the activities that sciatica prevented you from doing. You’ll still want to be regularly doing home exercise during this stage, but things can start to return to normal.

Sciatica Recovery Made Easy

The best way to combat sciatica is with the help of experts. If you suffer from pain caused by this condition, please don’t hesitate to contact Spine Health & Wellness and get started recovering from sciatica pain.

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