Lower Back Pain and Sciatica: Where to Start

Lower back pain and sciatica can be a life-changing event.  There can be a lot of reasons for back pain but some popular ones that we hear about are things like stenosis, degenerative disc disease, alignment issues or good old-fashioned back strain. It makes sense that these injuries happen for different reasons.   

Arthritis in your joints generally causes stenosis. You might be getting immobile and not keeping the discs moving and healthy or you might have bent over and lifted something incorrectly, injuring the disc and straining a muscle.  The point here is that a specific injury requires a specific treatment.  

Knowing WHAT the right treatment is can be REALLY confusing.  Do you go see a doctor, a chiropractor, massage or physical therapist? Do you just put ice or heat on it and take some Tylenol? What happens if it doesn’t get better? An important point here: It makes a difference if this is an old injury that you’ve had before or if it’s a first-time injury.   

If you are having numbness or you notice bowel or bladder changes, you should seek medical help immediately at an urgent care or ER. Less severe injuries can still be serious, but it’s likely that you can recover with conservative care. You should always start off with RICE for a new injury.   

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression (Ace Wrap) and Elevation. This can work for any minor injury with swelling and pain, especially the Elevation part. After about the first day, you should do some gentle stretches like a knee-to-chest stretch for your back and start walking. If you have a history of back surgery or injuries, you want to limit how much time you wait before seeing a professional if you don’t feel better after a day or two.   

This professional should do a thorough examination of your back. This might include tests for the nerve function, mobility, strength, and palpation of the injury. The treatment should address as many of the clinical findings as possible to offer a fuller recovery.  The goals with conservative care are to make sure you heal naturally without surgery, injections or a lot of painkillers if possible. Staying active, healthy and using good body mechanics and sitting postures are critical.  

To learn more about our Free Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop, go to https://bit.ly/2QfoJVi or text or call 863-322-0831.

 

 

Bio: Joe Koloc is a lifelong resident of Lake Wales who has degrees in Physical Therapy from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Webber International University. He opened Core Rehabilitation in 2013 and has 25 years of clinical experience as a specialist in shoulder and back pain.