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Lumbar Radiculopathy and Sciatica Physiotherapy



Lumbar radiculopathy (also known as sciatica or radiculitis) refers to a spinal condition that happens when the spinal nerve in your low back is

  • injured
  • pinched or
  • compressed

and this causes pain or other symptoms that can extend from the low back to the hip, leg, or foot.

Lumbar radiculopathy can be caused by sudden trauma or by long-term stress affecting structures in the back. Most of the time, it affects patients who are aged 30 to 50 years.

Risk factors for lumbar radiculopathy include

  • repeated lifting
  • participating in weight-bearing sports
  • obesity (overweight)
  • smoking
  • sedentary lifestyles and
  • poor posture

Good news is that majority of lumbar radiculopathy and sciatica cases recover without surgery, and respond well to spinal physiotherapy.

Our senior physiotherapists design individualized physiotherapy treatment programs to help patients with lumbar radiculopathy

Lumbar Radiculopathy and Sciatica

Our spine is made up of 33 vertebrae (bones) stacked on top of each other like a column.

On each side of every vertebra are openings in the bone through which nerve roots and nerves exit the spinal canal and travel out to the

  • hips
  • legs and
  • feet

And between each vertebra is a piece of cartilage called an "intervertebral disc" that acts like a shock-absorbing cushion between the vertebrae.

However, any injuries that happen close to the spine can cause pressure or injury to the nerves and nerve roots.

These injuries may include:

Conditions that can cause lumbar radiculopathy to develop over time include:

Sudden injury can happen with a fall, when a person lifts an object awkwardly (with poor posture or angle), or through trauma such as a car accident. Also, spinal structures surrounding the spine, such as ligaments or nerves, can also be injured.  

A slow onset of lumbar radiculopathy can occur from sitting or standing with poor posture (slumped forward) for weeks, months, or years. Poor posture can slowly overstretch ligaments in the back, allowing pressure to slowly build on our spinal nerves.

As that pressure increases, the pain can travel farther out along the path of the nerve, causing discomfort in the hip, leg, or foot.

How Does it Feel?

Lumbar radiculopathy can cause

  • pain
  • muscle tightness
  • muscle weakness or
  • other symptoms

The pain usually starts in the low back, and can travel to the hip, leg, or foot.

The location of the pain will change and vary depending on which nerve in the back is affected and how much (or severe) it is irritated. More and greater irritation causes the pain to spread farther, and this spreading pain usually affects 1 leg, but sometimes may affect both legs.

Pain and other symptoms can be constant or come and go, and can vary in intensity.

If a nerve or nerve root is severely pinched or compressed it can cause

  • severe pain
  • muscle weakness or
  •  extreme movement problems

Surgery may be recommended in more severe cases. On rare occasions, nerve compression can cause bladder control or bowel function problems, in which case immediate surgery is required and recommended.

Our senior physiotherapist can help determine the details of your condition and whether consultation with a an orthopedic surgeon is necessary. We will work with your surgeon to ensure your best treatment and outcomes.

Signs and Symptoms

Lumbar radiculopathy can cause a variety of symptoms.

The type and location of your symptoms will depend on the amount of pressure being placed on the affected nerve(s).

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and/or pressure in the back, hip, leg(s), foot/feet
  • Pain that can be throbbing, aching, shooting, sharp, dull, or burning
  • Inability to bend or rotate the back
  • Numbness or tingling in the back, hip(s), leg(s), or feet
  • Weakness in the leg(s)
  • Increased pain when coughing, sneezing, reaching, or sitting
  • Inability to stand up straight; being "stuck" in a position such as stooped forward
  • Difficulty getting up from a chair
  • Inability to remain in 1 position for a long period of time, such as sitting or standing, due to pain
  • Pain that is worse in the morning
  • Limping when walking

The pain or other symptoms can occur in one leg or both legs.

They can be in different locations at different times, and can change depending on your activity or body positioning. For example, pain can lessen or worsen when walking versus sitting, or lying down versus standing up.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Our senior physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history. We also will ask you detailed questions about your injury, such as:

  • Do you have loss of control of your bladder or bowel? CAUTION: Contact a medical professional immediately if you experience this condition.
  • How and when did the pain start?
  • At what time of day is it worse?
  • What type of discomfort do you feel, and where do you feel it?
  • What are you unable to do right now in your daily life due to the pain?

We will perform tests on your body to identify problems, such as:

If we find any of the above problems, physical therapy treatment may have to begin right away, to help get you on the road to recovery and back to your normal activities.

If testing indicates any concerns, wet will consult your physician or surgeon regarding the need for special diagnostic testing, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Do be assured that we work and communicate closely with physicians and other health care providers to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis, treatment, and the care you need.

how our senior physiotherapists can help

In all but the most extreme cases of lumbar radiculopathy, conservative care (such as physiotherapy) often results in better and faster results than surgery or pain medication (such as opioid medication).

Our senior physiotherapist will work with you to design a specific treatment program that will accelerate your recovery, including exercises and treatments that you can do at home.

In all but the most extreme cases of lumbar radiculopathy, conservative care (such as physiotherapy) often results in better and faster results than surgery or pain medication (such as opioid medication).

Our senior physiotherapist will work with you to design a specific treatment program that will accelerate your recovery, including exercises and treatments that you can do at home.

Physical therapy will help you return to your normal lifestyle and activities and the time it takes for lumbar radiculopathy and sciatica to heal varies, but improvement may be achieved in 6 to 8 weeks, when a proper posture, pain reduction, stretching, and strengthening program is implemented.

During the first 24 to 48 hours following your diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy, we may advise you to:

  • Protect the area by avoiding activity that causes worsening symptoms, such as heavy lifting
  • Avoid too much bed rest ie get up and about, walk around in your home, or if possible outside and about your home
  • Stay active around the house, and go on short walks several times per day.
  • Movement will decrease your pain and stiffness, and help you feel better.
  • Apply cold therapy to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Sit in firm chairs. Soft couches and easy chairs may make your problems worse.
  • Consult with a physician for further services, such as medication or diagnostic tests.

Some exercises are better for individuals with lumbar radiculopathy. Our senior physiotherapist will educate you about them. For example:

  • Water exercises can be a great way to stay physically active when other forms of exercise are painful.
  • Exercises prescribed for you because your physical therapist found that they reduce your leg pain are important for you to do.
  • Exercises that involve lots of twisting and bending may or may not benefit you. Your physical therapist will design an individualized exercise program to meet your specific needs.
  • Weight-training exercises, though very important, need to be done with proper form to avoid stress to the back.

Your physical therapist will work with you to:

Reduce pain and other symptoms

We will help you understand how to avoid or modify the activities that caused the injury, so healing can begin. We may use different types of treatments and technologies to control and reduce your pain and symptoms. Your treatment, based on your condition, may include

Improve motion

We will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in any stiff joints. These might begin with "passive" motions that we will do for you to move your spine, and progress to active exercises and stretches that you do yourself.

You can also perform these motions at home and in your workplace to help hasten healing and pain relief.

Improve flexibility

We will determine if any of the involved muscles are tight, start helping you to stretch them, and teach you how to stretch them at home.

Improve strength

If we find any weak or injured muscles, we will teach you the correct exercises to steadily restore your strength and agility. “Core strengthening and stabilization” exercises are commonly used to restore the strength and coordination of muscles around your back, hips, abdomen, and pelvis.

Improve endurance

Restoring muscular endurance is important after an injury. We will develop a program of activities to help you regain the endurance you had before the injury, and improve it.

Improve posture

We will teach you how to improve your posture so that pressure is reduced in the injured area, and healing can begin and progress as rapidly as possible.

Learn a home program

We will teach you strengthening, stretching, and pain reduction exercises to perform at home. These exercises will be specific for your needs; if you do them as prescribed, you can speed your recovery.

Return to activities

We will discuss your activity levels with you and use them to set your work, sport, and home-life recovery goals. Your physiotherapy treatment program will help you reach your goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.

For spine and leg pain from lumbar radiculopathy, we may teach you correct ways to lift objects (called “body mechanics”) that will help protect your spine from aggravating symptoms.

Once your pain is under control or gone, it will be important for you to continue your new posture and movement habits to keep your back healthy and pain free.

Following Surgery

In some cases, corrective spinal surgery is necessary to prevent further damage. If you undergo surgery for your lumbar radiculopathy, our senior physiotherapist s will work closely with you and your surgeon to help you regain motion and strength more quickly than you could on your own, and help you get back to your normal lifestyle as quickly as possible.



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book your physio appointment or enquire now

Enquire and email your preferred physiotherapy appointment slot to louise@phoenixrehabgroup.com or

WhatsApp / SMS your name, preferred date, time and enquiries to +6588001830

Clinic Locations: See how to get to us here

Phoenix Rehab physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.



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CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES

Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing. It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.



TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)



DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY

Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and shorten downtime. It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance.

Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.



ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

do Tell Your Family, Friends And Colleagues About Us =)

We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the #1 way we grow as a clinic/brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We do not rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

book your physio appointment or enquire now

Enquire and email your preferred physiotherapy appointment slot to louise@phoenixrehabgroup.com or

WhatsApp / SMS your name, preferred date, time and enquiries to +6588001830

Clinic Locations: See how to get to us here