Sciatic Pain Relief
Luke Klein-Breteler - Elite Myotherapist
A few months ago a client presented to the clinic experiencing chronic pain which was travelling down her right leg, this pain started in her low back and finished in the soul of her foot. The pain had been present for around 5-6 months and was burning, tingling and shooting in nature.
It would prevent her from doing many basic daily activities, which many people take for granted, such as standing to wash and dry the dishes or walking for more than 100m without having to stop and stretch. Due to the nature of her work this client would spend approximately 8 hours per day at her desk, only getting up every hour or so to move around. Like with many chronic pain sufferers the pain had also begun to affect her emotionally as well a physically and the client often found herself focusing on the limiting factors of her condition and the things she was unable to do.
Upon examination it was found that she was limited through her straight leg raise and her low back flexion initially brought on pain but once past 70-80 degrees she found it became a relieving stretch. The patient’s proprioception or balance was much more unstable on her right leg, as was her ability to activate her gluteals and other hip stabilisers. As for many people suffering from this kind of chronic pain, going to see a surgeon was certainly an option, and one that was certainly discussed. After talking with this client however, it was decided that we would first try conservative treatment, to see what changes could be made.
In the early stages of her treatment we initially focused on reducing her symptoms and bringing her pain down to a manageable level, we had conversations regarding her emotional state and aimed to change her mindset surrounding her condition; instead of focusing on what she was unable to do, she began to think about the little wins she had during and in between treatments, even if they were only minor ones. We also set a range of goals so that we both understood what we wanted to achieve.
As the treatment progressed and her symptoms began to settle we changed our focus from reducing her pain, to strengthening and stabilising her hips and lower back. We also started to look at ways she could begin to self-treat and maintain a relatively pain Free State between treatments. This was achieved by prescribing corrective exercises and teaching the client how to effectively use both foam rollers and spiky balls. The reason for changing our focus was so that the client: Firstly) Did not become reliant on the treatments for relief, Secondly) Was able to become self-efficient when dealing with her pain and Thirdly) was able to develop enough strength and stability in the needed areas to either prevent or at least reduce the likeliness of the injury reoccurring.
In total I saw this client 8 times over the course of approximately 4 months. Within 5 treatments we were able to halve her pain levels and substantially enhance he daily activities and now after 8 treatments she is finally living pain free day today. Treatment does however continue as we aim to further develop her strength and functional movements to prevent an injury like this reoccurring in the future.
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