Initial Management of your acute Low Back Pain/Sciatic Symptoms

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What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe a series of symptoms that occur down the back of our leg due to the sciatic nerve being pinched. These symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, pins and needles.

As our sciatic nerve originates in our lower back it is often associated with those who suffer from low back pain.

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.

Advice for those suffering from an acute flare up include:


  • 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

The Physiotherapists assessment will include:

  • 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.
  • Posture analysis – dynamic and static postures that may have caused or contributed to your low back pain

The majority of those suffering from sciatica 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 our Physiotherapists 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

For more information or to book your appointment please call us on 091 456 086 or  BOOK NOW’ 

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