Physical Therapy for Back Pain Related to Sciatica

back pain and sciatica treatment

Lower back pain can develop for many reasons, like poor posture or overuse, but one cause that affects many people is sciatica. Sciatica is the term that refers to pain and numbness that occurs in your sciatic nerve, which runs from your back into your legs.

The sciatic nerve is the longest single strand of nerve in your body. It’s responsible for directing nerve signals to and from your legs. Pain related to this nerve makes it difficult to sit down or stand up due to weakness and numbing of the back and legs.

Mild cases of sciatica tend to recede on their own after a little rest, but more severe cases require professional treatment. These kinds of patients should consider seeing a physical therapist to help treat their back pain and sciatica.

How do you know if you have sciatica?

All sciatica is back pain, but not all back pain is sciatica. Your back pain may be unrelated to sciatica, but there are some key symptoms that help you know if it is caused by sciatica. Pay attention to the following symptoms so you know when you should seek professional treatment for sciatica:

  • Pain starts in the lower back and spreads through one buttock into your thigh (sciatica usually affects only one leg, but, rarely it can affect both legs)
  • Pain that can be either mild and achy or sharp and burning
  • Pain flares from sudden movements like coughing
  • Pain in the lower back and leg is accompanied by numbness and weakness

As mentioned before, there are mild cases of sciatica that go away after a little rest, so you don’t need to go running to your physician every time you experience one of these symptoms. However, if the symptoms persist for more than a few days or grow in their severity, you should not hesitate to seek medical attention.

Additionally, if you experience loss of bladder control or if your sciatica develops suddenly due to an accident or injury, you should get medical help.

How can physical therapy help sciatica?

Physical therapists are professionals who are trained and experienced in treating the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, ligaments and bones related to your sciatic pain.

At SSOR, your physical therapist will work with you to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your back and abdomen to reduce pressure from your spine that causes sciatic pain.

Each patient’s treatment is unique according to individual needs, but many sciatica treatments include:

  • Hands-on therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Stretches and exercises
  • Dry needling

Would you like to treat your sciatica back pain without the use of invasive surgery or side-effect causing drugs? Talk with a physical therapist at SSOR about what we can do to help you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.