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02/19/2020

How to Treat and Prevent Sciatica – Our Guide

A persistent tingling or painful sensation on the backs of your legs, feet, and toes, might be a symptom of many things. But if you have back pain, immobility, and muscle spasms along with that, you may be suffering from sciatica or irritation of your sciatic nerve. Because this nerve runs along your side, from your hips to your feet, it manifests as lower body pain. 

There may also be underlying conditions like herniated discs and lumbar compression. While these affect the spine, the symptoms usually radiate into the limbs, causing sciatica. Painkillers might numb the irritation, and it normally gets better in less than two months. However, treating it early will help ease the symptoms and prevent further damage. 

Here are common treatments and pain relief for sciatica:

Physical therapy

Extension, flexion, and back exercises are among the most basic solutions for sciatica. A physical therapist will first diagnose your ability to move your limbs and prescribe directional exercises as needed. Usually, you will feel relief from a directional movement that acts upon the section of the nerve that is irritated. Continued physical therapy sessions will also prevent flareups. With a further diagnosis, it is possible to identify any underlying causes of the sciatica attack and treat it with additional exercises.

Dry needling

A certified provider can use acupuncture to release the tension and pain in an irritated muscle. This might help reduce the pain and restore function in the affected area. Sciatica is not treated by acupuncture, but it helps in the management of pain from the irritation. Of course, what you would want is to address the underlying issue entirely, which may be because of other ailments.

Spinal decompression

Sciatica caused by a slipped disc may be helped by spinal decompression. This is a motorized traction exercise that helps stretch the affected area. Of course, inquiring with a physical therapist is the best way to determine if spinal decompression is needed.

Wrapping Up

Sciatica is not normally a life-threatening condition, and sometimes it goes away on its own. However, if the pain persists for more than six weeks, it is best to inquire about treatments with a professional trained in treating sciatica. 

Regular exercise after recovery prevents sciatica from reoccurring, and practicing correct posture helps as well. For advanced cases, especially when the irritation is severe, consulting physiatrists will be the best course of action. These are specialists who can prescribe a wider range of treatments. For milder cases, a good physical therapy program set by a rehabilitation scientist will help restore the affected areas. Over-the-counter painkillers or prescription medications may also be recommended.

Physiatrists, physical therapists, and chiropractors are the best people to consult for sciatica. In the New York City area, Launchfit’s medical team is known for well-developed, personalized treatments for people with sciatica and other chronic injuries. We are able to design rehabilitation programs for sports injuries as well. 

We’re a sciatica physical therapy practice in NYC, book an appointment with us today to see how we can help!

02/12/2020

Our Guide to Different Types of Sciatic Nerve Pain – What to Know

Out of all the nerves, sciatica nerve pain is arguably one of the most debilitating as the sharp, numbing pain can disrupt a person’s daily life. It can put a halt in one’s actions once the pain hits the sciatic nerves – from eating a meal, driving the car, to working at a nine-to-five desk job. 

If you feel like you have sciatic nerve pain, the guide below should clue you in on what you need to know to help re-direct you to proper treatment options. 

What is Sciatica? 

The sciatic nerve is the longest in the body as it runs from the lower back, through the hips, buttocks, down each leg, and to the end of your toes. Sciatica, on the other hand, refers to the irritation of the sciatic nerve, which can send pulsing pain that radiates along the path of this nerve. 

The pain can be pulsing or burning, though the intensity of the pain varies from patient to patient. In most cases, sciatica only affects one side of the body, though doctors will need to determine the type to uncover the root of the problematic condition. 

What are Different Types of Sciatica? 

There are two broad categories of sciatica, such as the following: 

  • Neurogenic Sciatica – This type of sciatic triggers one the sciatic nerve gets squeezed or flattened, both of which can happen in various ways. This sciatic nerve pain typically manifests along with the length of one leg, though some experience bouts of lower back pain. Patients suffering from neurogenic sciatica may also deal with numbness and muscle weakness, both of which are red flags that indicate sciatica. 
  • Referred Sciatica – This sciatica counterpart indicates sensitivity in specific areas of the body near the sciatic nerve. This means that developing problems in the spine or pelvis can trigger a numbing pain along the path of the sciatic nerve, though it doesn’t weaken the muscles like neurogenic sciatica. 

Sciatica is Radiculopathy

By categorizing the different types of sciatica in two major problems, doctors can track the root of the problem to the source of the pain in common areas like the following: 

  • L4 Nerve Root – As the moniker suggests, it refers to the L4 vertebra of the lower spine. Once the L5 slips over the L4 vertebra, it can compress the nerves and lead to sciatic nerve pain. Those suffering from sciatica in the L4 nerve root may struggle with shooting pain in their foot and lower leg. 
  • L5 Nerve Root – Once the doctor finds the L5 nerve root as the source of the pain, they can determine how the sciatic pain will affect the patient’s top foot and toes. 
  • S1 Nerve Root – Patients suffering from sciatic nerve pain in the S1 nerve root, which is in the lower spine, can expect a burning pain along the outline of the foot. 

The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, five to ten percent of people who suffer from lower back pain highly likely struggle with sciatic nerve pain too. While the pain attacks can often be paralyzing, the upside is that most patients have high chances of recovering within six to 12 weeks so long as they undergo proper treatment. 

If you’re looking for sciatica physical therapy in NYC, get in touch with us to see how we can help.

01/15/2020

4 Stretching Exercises to Do to Reduce Sciatic Nerve Pain – Our Guide

Are you experiencing sciatic nerve pain? We understand that it can be so excruciating that you don’t even want to move. While there are many causes for this kind of pain (spinal stenosis, injuries, and the likes), there are also plenty of things you can do to help relieve the pain.  

One of the best things you can do to reduce the pain is stretching. Here are four stretching exercises to do to reduce sciatic nerve pain:

1. Opposite Knee to Shoulder

One of the simplest stretches you can do is to bring your knee close to the opposite shoulder. 

To do this, lie down on your back and extend your leg outwards. Bend one of your legs and grasp it with your hands. With that done, gently pull it towards the opposite shoulder. For example, if you’re holding the right leg, pull it close to the left shoulder.  

If done correctly, you should feel a sense of relief and stretching muscles, not pain. Repeat the process at least three times on each leg. 

2. Reclining Pigeon

The reclining pigeon pose is one of the most common poses in yoga. 

Lie down on your back, and slowly bring one of your legs up with the knee bent in a 90-degree angle. While holding the leg in place, bring the other leg close, placing the ankle behind the knee of the bent leg. Then, grasp the thigh of the first leg and pull in gently, holding the position momentarily. Repeat the same process on the opposite leg. 

You might feel pain in the beginning, but that’s normal. This pose stretches the muscles that are prone to inflammation and press against your sciatic nerve. Over time, you will feel less pain as you continue with this stretching exercise. When you feel no more pain from this pose, you can move on to either sitting or forward pigeon pose.

3. Sitting Pigeon

The sitting pigeon is the same concept as the reclining position. The difference here is that you’re sitting down this time.  

To do the sitting pigeon, first, make sure you’re sitting straight up with legs stretched out in front. Then, bend one of the legs close to you with the feet planted on the floor. Pull the opposite leg close and place its ankles on top of the knee of the first leg. With that done, lean forward closer to your legs and hold it for up to 30 seconds for maximum effect. 

4. Forward Pigeon

The forward pigeon is perhaps the hardest one to do of all the pigeon poses, as it requires plenty of flexibility. 

To do it, kneel on the floor with your hands and knees on the ground. Move one of the legs forward in front, placing it in front of you. The other leg should remain behind and stretched, meaning that only the foot is touching the ground. With that, slowly place all your weight on your legs while sitting up. Once you’re fully seated up with legs in contact with the ground, slowly breathe in and lean against the leg. When exhaling, bend forward and remove some weight off your legs by leaning on your hands. 

These exercises will help you relieve some pain by stretching the muscles that are responsible for sciatic nerve pain. By doing these stretching exercises daily, coupled with the help of a doctor, your road to recovery will be as painless and quick as it can be. 

If you’re looking for sciatica physical therapy in NYC, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

01/08/2020

Our Guide to Sciatica – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Are you dealing with sciatica? If you’re experiencing back pain that affects you down to the leg, you’re most likely dealing with it. Sciatic pain nerve causes such symptoms and can occur from a wide variety of ways. However, one of the most common causes of sciatic nerve pain is a slipped disc in your vertebrae. 

In this article, we’ll talk about the causes of sciatica, its symptoms, and how it is treated.

The Causes of Sciatica

Medically, sciatica is known as acute nerve root compression. As you can tell by the name, it is when your sciatic nerve is compressed or put under pressure, causing numbness, pins, and needles, and pain. 

The causes of sciatica can include but aren’t limited to muscle tension degenerated discs or a slipped disc. There are other causes as well, albeit much less common. For example, tumors, infections of the spine, and stenosis can also cause sciatica.

The Symptoms of Sciatica

The most apparent symptom of sciatica is acute lower back pain that can radiate to the lower legs. The pain can also be accompanied by a tingling sensation, commonly known as pins and needles. These symptoms can be made worse by merely sneezing, coughing, or sitting. 

These symptoms usually occur when the spine is bent and put under pressure, such as bending down to pick up an object. In most cases, the pain experienced from sciatica can almost immediately be relieved by relieving the stress on the spine, which is usually achieved by lying on the side. 

The Treatments of Sciatica

While there are many different treatments for the condition, the one that is used will depend entirely on the patient. However, all the procedures will put pain relief as the main priority.

In some cases where sciatica is severe due to a slipped disc, surgery would usually be necessary. However, this action is used as a last resort. Generally, most treatments would require the patient to rest comfortably on the bed, relieving the back of any pressure. The patient can also be prescribed certain medications to help reduce any symptoms.

Moreover, heat therapy helps with muscle spasms caused by sciatica. However, if the pain is still present, a cold treatment would be done instead. Back braces can also be utilized to help support the lower back during the early stages of treatment. 

Some doctors would also recommend extension exercises as soon as the patient can deal with the pain. This helps relieve muscle tension and any discomfort the patient is experiencing.

Chiropractic care is also a conventional treatment for sciatica. This treatment is usually only used after a thorough diagnosis to figure out what is causing the problem. Once done, the patient will often receive multiple therapies, such as ice therapy, ultrasound, and muscle stimulation using a TENS unit, all to reduce the symptoms of sciatica. If necessary, the chiropractor will carry out spinal adjustments to realign the vertebrae of the patient to further reduce muscle spasm, pain, and any other symptoms. The adjustments themselves are not painful, but safe and effective.

Sciatica is a problem where the sciatic nerve is compressed, causing pain and numbness to the back and lower half of the body. If you’re dealing with such a condition, you now have an idea of what you’ll have to do during therapy. You might be prescribed medicines or advised to do stretching exercises. Remember, if you believe that you have sciatica, have it treated right away. That way, not only do you save yourself a world of pain but avoid having these conditions as permanent.

If you are looking for sciatica physical therapy in NYC, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.  We have experienced, specialist therapists that will help to treat your condition with the utmost care.

04/29/2018

Back Pain, Sciatica, And A Visit To The Chiropractor

We all feel a little backache now and then, one that, with a few stretches goes away but not all the time. Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s poor posture, a slipped disc, an impinged nerve, or something even more serious.
One cause of back pain is sciatica. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, starting at the lower back down to the buttocks, and further down the back of each leg. The most common symptom of sciatica is a pain that radiates from your lower back and following the length of the sciatic nerve. The pain can be sporadic and bothersome or constant and debilitating.
Other symptoms include the worsening of the pain when you sit, a sharp and jolting pain that make it hard to stand up or walk, weakness and numbing of the affected leg, foot, and/or toes. Sciatic nerve pain usually affects only one leg and rarely both legs.
The causes of sciatica are usually due to a herniated disc or a bone spur on the spine. Sometimes, pregnancy can also induce pain as the growing baby compress surrounding organs and irritate the sciatic nerve. An injury, tumor, infection in the lumbar spine area as well as damage as a result of conditions like diabetes can cause sciatica.
A chiropractor can diagnose the root cause of your sciatic nerve pain after reviewing your medical history. You will be provided with a personalized treatment plan that may include a combination of ice and cold therapy, ultrasound, and spinal manipulations or adjustments.
Research has shown that chiropractic adjustments can help relieve back pain and sciatica. As much as 60% of patient with sciatica has found the same level of relief from their regular spinal manipulations by a chiropractor compared to those who eventually underwent surgery.