How we helped a patient to ease their Back Pain and Sciatica

A lady in her mid 50’s came to see us at Active Motion due to experiencing back pain with referred “excruciating shooting pains” down the back of her leg. After approximately 3 week of suffering with this she had enough and decided to come and see us at clinic. At the 3 week point she also started to experience numbness in her foot.

How was it starting to affect her life?

Well…“ I am currently unable to work as I can’t stand or sit for more than 5 minutes, luckily however, I was signed off by the doctor and given pain relief.” 

Mrs B, felt that the pain had started to affect her life as she was unable to enjoy time with her family, going out for walks, I was even unable sit and watch a film. 

On assessment:

Mrs B’s symptoms included: 

  • a dull ache across her back
  • sharp shooting pains down her leg 
  • numbness into her foot

When looking at Mrs B’s back range of motion it started to highlight some of her symptoms, when turning to the right the dull ache across the back would increase feeling as if it was tight and pulling.

The same was also felt when bending forward towards the floor, the movement also stimulated the sharp pain down the leg. This in combination with a few other specific tests highlighted that she was suffering from sciatic nerve irritation and also mechanical (joint related) lower back pain.

Tight musculature

As the body tried to protect itself, the muscles surrounding the back and the leg started to tighten. Mrs B was experiencing a tight calf alongside the gluteal muscles and those muscles situated either side of the spine. These are all areas which can contribute to the sharp pains down the leg and numbness in the foot.

How did we help with Mrs. B’s back pain?

Firstly, we put a plan in place to keep Mrs B comfortable, ensuring she did not sit or stand for more than 15 minutes plus we made sure she was walking in between these two positions to make her as mobile as possible. 

In Mrs B’s treatment sessions we worked on reducing her lower back pain through mobilising the spine, and reducing down the muscle tightness through massage and acupuncture.

We also utilised exercise based rehabilitation to ensure we prevented the symptoms from occurring.

Exercises:

1) Sit to Stand (Glutes)

  – Feet shoulder width apart 

  – Stand up NOT forward

Image from Research Gate

2) Toe Taps – Core Stability

 

  • Start with both feet in the air with both knees bent to 90 degrees
  • Slowly lower one foot down the ground and tap the toes
  • Keep the back flat into the ground

Image from Nourish Movement