Lumbago, Sciatica and back pain

October 31, 2016
/ Synergy Physiotherapy /

Back Pain

 

Lumbago is another name for lower back pain, a condition that is thought to affect eight out of 10 adults during their life.

Lumbago can include painful muscles and tendons (cords of flexible strong tissue that connect muscles to bones), pain caused by the joints and conditions including Disc Prolapse, also known as a Slipped Disc (keep reading for more on this).

Lower back pain can be accompanied by  Sciatica, which refers to the sciatic nerve becoming compressed or inflamed.

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, down the buttocks, splitting into two before running down both legs, ending at the feet.

Sciatica can occur at any point along the nerve. (Namely the buttock, thigh, calf or foot.)

Many cases of Sciatica and Lumbago fade away within the space of a few weeks.

Physiotherapy from an experienced therapist, together with painkillers and anti-inflammatories as appropriate, can help to alleviate symptoms.

 

What are Lumbago and Sciatica symptoms?

Symptoms of Lumbago can include stiffness and a loss of flexibility in the lower back, which may be worse at night or when moving in a particular way, such as bending or twisting.

Specific Sciatica symptoms can include numbness, pain and a “tingle” that begins in the lower back and moves down a leg and down to the toes. Not everyone who experiences sciatica will have back pain (some patients have symptoms in their leg only).

General lower back pain can be a symptom of Sciatica, although the pain also felt in the legs and buttocks can be more intense.

The pain caused by Sciatica ranges in severity and can be intensified by sitting down for lengthy periods as well as by coughing and sneezing.

 

How do Lumbago and Sciatica symptoms affect people’s everyday lives?

 

When lower back pain or Sciatica stops you from getting on with your life it can be frustrating and upsetting.

For example, it can make things like looking after young children and keeping the house tidy difficult and you may have trouble getting to sleep.

If you have a physical job or if you sit down in front of your computer all day it can also make things tough at work.

Persistent pain as well as the inability to live your life to the full can make you feel anxious.

At Synergy Physiotherapy, we can help you to end the worry of back pain.

 

What can cause Lumbago and Sciatica?

There are many potential causes of Lumbago including lifting heavy objects, twisting, overstretching, sitting in an awkward position for a long time and overusing muscles, for example by overdoing it in the garden. It can also occur for no obvious reason.

The vast majority of cases of Sciatica are caused by irritation of one of the discs that sit between the spine bones (vertebrae) to act as shock absorbers.

In some cases, irritated discs can press on the sciatic nerve, which leads to symptoms of Sciatica.

Are you worried about back pain? Get answers now with our free infographic: What's Causing My Back Pain?

 

Acute Lumbago and Sciatica treatment

 

The following can all help to relieve pain in the first seven days:

 

  • Gentle exercise and movement so that you don’t stiffen up
  • Hot and cold treatments
  • Over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories

 

The following can help to relieve pain beyond the first seven days:

 

  • Trying to return to normal daily activities
  • Gentle exercise such as swimming

 

You should avoid twisting and lifting heavy objects.

If symptoms continue beyond a few weeks, it’s always best to see an experienced Physiotherapist who can help you to tackle the pain.

At Synergy Physiotherapy, Lumbago and Sciatica treatment will often incorporate manual techniques including sports massage, joint mobilisation and acupuncture, which can all be highly effective in getting rid of pain.

Check our blog 4 reasons you need to try a sports massage .

We can also draw up an exercise programme as appropriate.

Our experienced team of Physios and rehab specialists can help you to regain movement and strength, and get back to normal as soon as possible.

 

 

A home exercise tip from the experts

 

One home exercise that helps our patients to alleviate their pain is “knee hugs”.

Knee hugs* 

  1. Lie on your back with your legs fully extended.
  1. Take a deep breath. When you exhale, use your hands to bring your right knee into your chest and gently hug it into your body, holding that position while you slowly inhale and exhale three or four times, releasing your knee on the final exhale.
  1. Now repeat with the left knee.

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* If your pain increases significantly during or after this exercise then please stop and get advice from a healthcare professional

 

Please don’t ignore back pain

 

Ignoring back pain can make it worse and it can also mean you’re more likely to suffer from the same problem again in the future.

Our expert Physiotherapists have helped many people like you to say goodbye to back pain and get back to their normal routine.

The best way to start is with a detailed back assessment.

 

Important: Symptoms you should not ignore

 

There are certain symptoms that can indicate a more significant problem. If you suffer from these symptoms, please seek immediate advice from your GP (this will often be a false alarm but it’s best to be on the safe side):

 

  • Unrelenting, constant pain at night
  • Numbness in the “saddle area” (the buttocks and between the legs)
  • Sudden changes in your toiletry habits
  • Feeling generally unwell since back pain began

 

End the worry of back pain

 

When you visit Synergy Physiotherapy, our Physios can:

 

  • Give you a thorough back pain assessment including i) a detailed evaluation of your movements ii) assessment of your nervous system iii) identifying any weakness or stiffness that needs addressing
  • Tell you why your back is hurting
  • Advise you on how they can help you to solve the problem
  • Tell you what steps you can take to stop it coming back
  • If physiotherapy is not suitable, arrange a referral for further investigations such as scans in consultation with your GP

 

Taking that first step makes you feel that you’re taking positive action to end the worry of back pain.

 

Free online consultation

 

Before you make a decision about coming to see us at our practice in Egham or Woking, we’re offering you a free online consultation with one of our talented Physios.

They will ask you how your back feels and how it’s impacting on your lifestyle.

Then we’ll discuss the next steps to help you make a full recovery.

 

Click below to book your free online consultation with Synergy Physiotherapy.

 

Book your free consultation

 

Or call our Woking clinic on 01483 600351 or our Egham clinic on 01784 618118.