Sciatica occurs as pain located along the sciatic nerve. Although most people who are diagnosed with sciatica think of it as a disorder, it really is just a symptom that is signaling another problem involving the sciatic nerve or one of its many branches. The sciatic nerve originates in the spinal cord, branches out and runs down through the buttocks, continuing down through the back of the legs. This nerve is the longest nerve in the body and is responsible for controlling several of the lower leg muscles as well as providing feeling to the feet, legs and thighs. The most common symptom of sciatica is lower back pain that radiates down into the buttocks and continues down through the back of the thigh and calf. Pain may be experienced as mild aching or severe sharp pains.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica can be caused by several conditions although the most common cause is due to a herniated disc. Discs are located between each of the vertebra bones that make up the spine. The discs are made of a gel-like substance, which work to provide cushioning to the vertebral bones during movement. If a disc slips out of its normal position and presses on the sciatic nerve, sciatica can occur. Sciatica can also be caused by degenerative disc diseases such as spondylolisthesis, narrowing of the spine, piriformis muscle spasms and trauma.
Hot Tub Therapy For Sciatica
Sciatica often disappears on its own although it does take time and during the healing process, discomfort can be quite severe. Pain medications may help provide relief as well as mild exercise such as walking and stretching the leg and back muscles. Another pain remedy that is often recommended by physicians is hydrotherapy. When an individual is experiencing pain, this affects the chemicals in the brain resulting in increased stress, blood pressure and pulse. This can make the pain even more severe.
Hydrotherapy has proven to reverse these bodily reactions, thus reducing pain. Although hydrotherapy usually requires sessions with a physical therapist, it can also be done using a hot tub. By submerging the body in a hot tub, the body becomes weightless, relieving it of the constant pull of gravity. Hot tubs relax muscles, stimulate the immune system for improved healing, increase hormones that reduce stress and invigorate circulation for improved blood flow. The jets of the hot tub also produce the effects of massage therapy helping to relax muscles, increase blood circulation and reduce pain.
Even the bubbles that are produced from the jets have pain relieving powers as they help relax tense muscles, reduce stress, increase mobility and lessen pain. If you are suffering from the pain of sciatica, speak with your physician about the pain relieving benefits of hot tub therapy.