[Q&A With A Back Pain Specialist] "What Exactly Is Sciatica And Why Might I Have It?"

Updated: May 4



According to an article from the British Journal of General Practice, sciatica can be classified as a painful and disabling condition, resulting in worse pain, disability, and quality of life. Unfortunately, we see this condition often with elderly individuals and hear stories of how this issue has been going on "for years," and some people shared how they were told by their physician "it's a part of aging" or to just "chalk it up to old age". This does not have to be the case for you or your loved one, know there are solutions to help manage sciatica or back pain.


We received these common questions while working with seniors at our practice regarding sciatica and back pain, and we wanted to share our responses with you. As a leading provider of therapy at home and in-home physical therapy and occupational therapy services in the Greater Milwaukee area, we assist older adults aged 65+ by helping teach the proper ways to help reduce sciatica and low back pain, so every day household chores and social activities can remain manageable.


Here are the top 3 questions and answers we might be asked about sciatica or low back pain for seniors:


1) Question: What exactly is sciatica, and why might I have it?


Answer:

Often, sciatica and back pain comes from doing daily activities with bad posture or improper technique. When you're washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or vacuuming, make sure you're standing up straight with your earlobes directly above your shoulders and hips. If you sit at a desk all day for work, make sure you have a good ergonomic setup.


It may help if you tried to sit up taller in your chair so that your lower back is supported while keeping your hips slightly higher than your knees, and your feet should be solid on the floor. Your monitor should be directly in front of you at eye level. Here's a blog that can help with providing you with additional posture tips or exercises for posture.


If you're sitting in a recliner chair during the day, try to make sure you stand up and move every 20 to 30 minutes. You can also try using a small pillow or lumbar low back support, which promotes improved upright sitting posture in general.


2) Question: Does exercise or stretching help ease the pain caused by sciatica or low back pain? Are there any other techniques or things to try besides exercise or stretching to help manage sciatica or low back pain?


Answer:

Improving core strength and stability is crucial if you want to help ease the pain. Core strengthening exercises play an important role in helping manage sciatica.


Tight muscles around the hips can limit the movement that is allowed at the hip joint. This limitation in movement can contribute to sciatica. By working on stretching your lower leg muscles, hip flexors, hamstrings, and piriformis muscles can help ease the discomfort.


Try to exercise daily for 20 to 30 minutes--walk, ride a bike, or take a yoga class. Activity helps to increase blood flow and improve your mobility and strength. If you are holding on to a few extra pounds, exercising will help you shed those and decrease the pressure on the spine.

If you're not sure what exercise you should be doing, check in with a physical therapist who can get you started with a program that best suits your needs.



3) Question: What are some good exercises or stretches to help with sciatica or low back pain?


Answer:

Here's a video that we created addressing 5 easy exercises for back pain relief that you can do at home to help alleviate back pain.


These back pain stretches and exercises are for general back pain like soreness in your lower back or pulling a muscle.



Still having trouble, or do you want help getting your sciatica problem solved?


As a mobile physical therapy and occupational therapy provider in the Greater Milwaukee area, we help individuals like you or your loved one aged 65+ improve your mobility to keep you active and living at the most optimal level. We provide our physical therapy and occupational therapy services at your home throughout the Greater Milwaukee area to help you get this problem solved.


If you are looking for the best sciatica exercises or wondering how to help lower your back pain and live in Waukesha, Brookfield, New Berlin, Pewaukee, Delafield, Hartland, Oconomowoc, Greenfield, New Berlin, Muskego, Wales, Greendale, Franklin, Oak Creek, Whitefish Bay, or in surrounding Greater Milwaukee communities, give us a quick phone call to schedule your physical therapy appointment or complete this quick form to set up your FREE 20-minute call ($75 value) with an in-home PT to discuss your current situation!


Talk more soon!!

Preston, PT


P.s. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your back which restricts your ability to move without pain, download our free back pain tips guide, which includes actionable tips we give to our patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click here to get your free copy!