Things to try

Therapies to help lower back pain and sciatica

Things to try to ease lower back pain and sciatica pain

Thumbnail example

The world abounds with all sorts of conventional medicine and alternative therapies to prevent, avoid, or cure lower back pain and sciatica. Here are just a few possibilities which might actually help.

Alexander Technique

Buy a book on Alexander technique and start paying attention to your posture.

Learn how to stand and how to walk. I know it sounds simple, but many of us stoop as we get older. Visit Alexander Technique to find out more.

Tai Chi

This is a form of martial art but there are many classes which cater solely for those who wish to do a series of slow motion movements. These movements appear to be particularly beneficial to those who suffer from arthritis. Those who do Tai Chi also claim it is relaxing, and it refreshes the mind.

Pilates

This is a combination of exercise and stretching which is becoming increasingly popular and is often taken up with people who suffer from back problems.

Yoga

There are many forms of Yoga which I don't intend to go into. Yoga undoubtedly will help improve your suppleness, your breathing, and help you meditate as well.

Heel Inserts

Good foot ware is also important. Your shoes should have good support and preferably with some form of active air. I personally have used Scholl Ortho heel inserts. It's hard to say how effective these inserts are, but every little helps when it comes to taking all the precautions to ensure you treat your spine with care. In the warm weather if you want to wear sandals, it pays to invest in a pair of good ones with active air support.

Magnetic Therapy

I tried some magnetic bracelets and some stick on North South pole magnets. I placed the magnets around my thigh area and lower back. After a few weeks I found little or no significant improvement. This does not however mean to say it isn't worth a try. When you are troubled by deep sciatic pain you'll try anything once. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to say magnetic therapy works and in Europe there is also some clinical evidence which suggests magnetic therapy works for certain conditions.

Facet Joint Injections

These are usually carried out by specialist medical practitioners and in some cases may provide relief for lower back pain.

The facet joints are connections between the vertebras in the spine which enable the bending or twisting movements of the spine. These joints can get inflamed with injury or arthritis causing pain in the lower back. However it is possible to inject these joints with steroids. While this is not a permanent cure and will not reverse the bony overgrowth that occurs, it does reduce pain and inflammation and result in some shrinkage of the inflamed joint capsule.

Successful facet joint injection can also be diagnostic and help identify the cause of back pain. Facet joint injections are generally carried out after disc prolapse and other causes of back pain have been excluded, generally by MRI scan. Lumbar facet injections are almost always done with local anaesthetic and without sedation. Patients can usually go home immediately but should not drive for four hours.

Lumbar facet joint injection is a safe procedure which can be repeated if effective. The joints can only be adequately injected using x-ray screening.

In the UK facet joint injections are not widely available in NHS hospitals but private medical insurers will usually cover the cost of these injections after referral from a specialist. Consultant radiologists at the Hereford Radiology Group offer self paying patients lumbar facet injections for a fixed fee for up to four joints. MRI scanning is also available.