While every case of sciatica requires an individualised assessment and a subsequent treatment plan, here are some sciatica treatment guidelines
PHASE I – Pain Relief & Protection
You are managing your pain. Pain is the main reason that you seek treatment for sciatica. In truth, it was the final symptom that you developed and should be the first symptom to improve.
You are managing your inflammation. Inflammation is a normal part of your healing process post-injury. But, excessive inflammation can be the leading cause of your sciatica.
Please get in touch with your physiotherapist or doctor for their professional opinion.
PHASE II – Restoring Normal Flexibility, Posture & Strength
As your pain and inflammation settle, your physiotherapist will turn their attention to restoring your regular back joint range of motion and resting muscle tension, lower limb muscle flexibility and posture.
Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle recruitment pattern and prescribe the best exercises specific to your needs. They may recommend that you undertake an ultrasound-guided exercise program where you can view your deep core muscle contractions on a monitor.
PhysioWorks has developed a Back Pain Core Stabilisation Program to assist sciatica patients in regaining standard core muscle control. Other more advanced programs can include stability exercises and equipment such as a Swiss exercise ball. Would you please ask your physio for their advice?
Swimming and hydrotherapy exercises are beneficial in early injury repair due to lesser body weight in the buoyancy of water. Less weight allows more movement without causing pain.
PHASE III – Restoring Full Function & Dynamic Control
The next stage of your rehabilitation is aimed at safely returning you to your desired activities. Everyone has different demands, which will determine what specific treatment goals you need to achieve. Your physiotherapist is the best person to guide your rehabilitation.
PHASE IV – Preventing a Recurrence
Sciatica does tend to return. The main reason it is thought to recur is due to insufficient rehabilitation.
Fine-tuning your back mobility and core control and learning self-management techniques will ultimately help you achieve your goal of safely returning to your previous sporting or leisure activities without sciatica.
Exercise is like cleaning your teeth. Exercise prevents problems. For specific advice regarding your sciatica, please seek the advice of your trusted healthcare professional.