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Physical therapy for sciatica may include any of the following practices:

Massage: Deep tissue massage works in the tissues and muscles of the lower back to release the tension that may be irritating the sciatic nerve and causing pain. While deep tissue massage may be a bit painful at first, it is because of how deep the muscles are that need to be worked. As your muscles and the areas affected start to relax, this discomfort should subside. Leaving you with less overall pain and a freer range of motion. Deep tissue massage goes beyond traditional soft tissue massage because of the depth in which it reaches and therefore is useful for reaching the areas affected by sciatica.

Cold/Heat Therapies: Cold therapy helps to reduce inflammation and pain, while heat increases circulation to the affected area to accelerate the healing process. These two extremes may be used alternately. Either of these treatments or both together, allows the inflamed area to relax and helps to relieve the pressure that is the cause of the sciatic pain. The increased circulation provided by the heat therapy will help to relax the area as well as promote self-healing in the area affected.

Low Level Laser Therapy: Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) works to ease the pain of sciatica because of its anti-inflammatory benefits. The infrared or near-infrared light used in laser therapy stimulates damaged cells and assists with healing and repair. This therapy also stimulates nerve function and increases circulation. This increased circulation aids in the reduction of the inflammation that causes the pressure on the sciatic nerve, allowing for a reduction in both stiffness and pain.

Electrotherapy: The nerves of the body are responsible for sending pain signals to the brain; electrotherapy disrupts these neurological messages before they are able to cause pain. This is accomplished by the delivery of electrical currents through electrodes attached to patches and placed on the area to be treated. The current blocks the body’s natural electric flow, thus blocking the pain signals caused by sciatica.

Exercise: Therapeutic exercise is designed to help build strength, increase flexibility, and restore the spine’s range of motion. It is extremely important for sciatica patients to attempt exercise only under the guidance of trained professionals who understand the needs and limitations related to lower back conditions. As the area of the spine is strengthened, the muscles will become less tense. This will not only relax the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve but also relieve the pain that results from the pressure.

Ultrasound: Pain, stiffness, cramping, and muscle spasms may be reduced with the use of ultrasound, which reaches deep into the muscle tissues with sound waves. These warm sound waves work much like heat therapy by increasing circulation and reducing inflammation that causes the pain of sciatica. This treatment also stimulates the body’s self-healing blood cells and allows them to repair the damage that caused this sciatic pain.

In addition to all of the above treatments, Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation offers PowerPlate technology. The PowerPlate machine uses vibration to increase circulation in order to restore the damaged tissues and muscles of the body. As part of any physical therapy program, it can assist patients with restoring mobility and flexibility.