Initial Management of your acute Low Back and Sciatic Symptoms

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Treatment of a pinched nerve will depend on the severity of the symptoms.

Severe or regular flare up of sciatic nerve pain symptoms may need immediate treatment to prevent any worsening of symptoms.

There are many avenues of non-surgical treatment you can avail of to help in the relief of your low back pain and neurological symptoms.

Some of the standard medical interventions advised for those suffering from an acute flare up include:

  • Heat/Ice
    • Heat is usually applied for 20-25minutes and may be repeated 2-3hourly.
      Muscle spasms in our lower back are as a result of lack of blood flow to the muscles, this therefore will result in increased tightening and will result in restrictions through movement.By using heat therapy it aims to promote blood flow to these tight tissues by dilating the blood vessels.
    • Ice application is usually applied within the first 48hours following injury. This is applied for up to 20minutes and may be applied several times throughout the day. It will help in reducing any swelling and also in reducing the pain.

      Important: to avoid an ice burn do not place the ice pack directly onto the skin. Use a wet towel that acts as a barrier between the skin and ice pack.

      Those suffering from paralysis, areas of impaired sensation, Raynaud’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis should avoid using ice as a form of treatment.

  • Pain Medication

    Over the counter medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medications and muscle relaxants may be prescribed by a visit to your local GP.

  • Epidural steroid injections

    In severe cases this may be carried out to address in inflammation causing the pain. This is used in relieving acute sciatic episodes. Although the pain may subside, the patient must commence an individualised exercise programme to prevent re-injury.

Physiotherapy Intervention for Low Back Pain

Physiotherapists are professionals trained to evaluate your symptoms of low back pain, they will provide you with a diagnosis depending on their findings.

To carry out such an evaluation the Physiotherapists will carry out a

  • Spinal examination: look at a series of movements, repeated movements and determine the cause and level of injury
  • Strength tests of specific muscle groups
  • Flexibility testing of muscles that may be contributing to your low back pain. Whether these are primary or secondary causes
  • Posture analysis – dynamic and static postures that may have caused or contributed to your low back pain

The majority of those suffering from sciatica (pinched nerve) and associated neurological symptoms can be managed conservatively. Depending on the severity and irritability of the symptoms treatment duration can vary between 4 – 12 weeks.

Some of the common interventions used by Physiotherapists and carried out here at Flood Street Physiotherapy include:

  • Manual Therapy: this is a hands on approach including massage, joint mobilization, joint manipulation and stretching
  • Dry Needling
  • Kinesio Taping
  • Home exercise programmes – individualized programmes tailored to rectify the problems identified throughout your consultation.
  • Neuromuscular Re-Education: aims to improve posture and stability
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