Were you aware that one out of ten people suffer from issues such as chronic lower back pain and sciatica? Not only can these conditions be extremely uncomfortable, but they may even affect your quality of life if left unchecked. It is wise to take a quick look at the types of lower back and associated leg pain and the associated risk factors before moving on to discuss your treatment options. It will then be much easier to seek professional help sooner as opposed to later.
Lower Back Pain Versus Sciatica
Both sciatica and lower back pain can be termed as acute (lasting between a few days and a few weeks) or chronic (lasting for more than 12 weeks). However, there are some differences to note. Lower back pain is more of a generalised term and it can also involve the numerous muscles which comprise this region. Sciatica is much more specific, resulting from increased pressure or irritation of the sciatic nerve or the nerve roots that form the sciatic nerve. Anyone suffering from sciatica will often experience more specific pains; particularly those which radiate from the lower back down to one or both legs.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
There are several symptoms that can be associated with each type of condition. Here are some signs that you may be suffering from chronic lower back pain:
- Increased sensations of tightness in the associated area.
- Dull aches and pains with no noticeable origin (but confined to the lower back).
- Difficulty performing basic movements such as bending over or standing up from a chair.
- When referring to sciatica, pain radiating down to the legs. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the buttocks, back or feet.
Both of these conditions actually share a number of risk factors in common. For example, those who are overweight or who tend to lead sedentary lifestyles are more likely to develop issues with their lower back. Either situation can likewise be caused by an acute injury (such as falling down or awkwardly lifting an object). Other risk factors include age, genetic predispositions, high levels of stress, and poor sleeping habits. Thankfully, there are many effective treatment options to consider.
Your Treatment Options
In many cases, simple rest and relaxation can alleviate the symptoms associated with both of these conditions. There are nonetheless other times when professional intervention is required. The exact outcome will first depend upon obtaining an accurate diagnosis. Our physiotherapists will conduct a thorough assessment at your first visit and try to find the root of the pain in your lower back. They can then develop a targeted treatment plan. Recovery times generally depend upon the cause of the injury, how long it has been present and the severity of your symptoms. It is also a good idea to enact specific lifestyle changes in order to avoid future discomfort. Adopting a stretching routine, remaining physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight are three common examples. Either way, there are plenty of ways to recover from lower back pain and sciatica.
If you have been suffering from pain in your lower back or sciatica, give us a call on (02) 9144 1510 and book in your initial appointment now to see how Turramurra Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy can help you.