Okay, you’ve seen your physician and he wrote the referral for physical therapy. You are now in for the ride of your life. Here you are in desperate pain and your doctor and now your physical therapist want you to maneuver, stretch and reinforce the very muscle groups that are the cause of your pain. The truth is that if you see yourself in partnership with your physician and physical therapist then curing sciatica will be a good experience for you and may even be something that lasts a long time!
Indeed, I know you are in substantial discomfort. I also know that curing sciatica is difficult work. If you keep your eye on the prize your hard work will pay off in ways you couldn’t picture when your body is wracked with pain. Sticking with the plan is the key to long-term outcomes. Look, imagine yourself running a one-mile race. If you quit after running 9/10 of a mile after that all is lost but if you envision the finish line just 100 yards beyond the one-mile mark, then you’ll keep running through the finish line. Curing sciatica is much like running that one-mile race.
What’s the point of getting into condition and staying active? The easy truth is that activity, even mild exercise, is, frankly, the best way I know of to maintain a strong and healthy lumbar spine. The science is clear; a strong core means a strong back which results in being not as likely to suffer from the soft tissue inflammation that triggers sciatic nerve pain in the first place. Physical therapy manages pain by building a regular exercise routine that strengthens the core and stretches the support muscles and ligaments that often are the cause of your sciatica.
In addition to the routines suggested by your physical therapist, there are a number of common-sense things you can do to speed up the process.
Take a break from sitting and walk around.
If you must stand a long time prop one foot up and switch four or five times an hour.
Stretch your back during the day.
Exercise correct lifting techniques when lifting heavy objects.
Avoid rotating and bending.
Sit down in hard, straight-backed chairs instead of relaxing on the couch.
Sleep with a cushion between your knees.
Rest on a firm mattress.
Use a lumbar support while driving or sitting.
If you practice the exercise routine recommended by your physical therapist and you incorporate some or all of these simple lifestyle changes into your every day routine you’ll be fast on your way to curing sciatica and stopping any recurrence. In the long-run, success is really in your hands.