Best Physical Therapy Techniques for Sciatica

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Pelvic diagram of a sciatic nerve
Posted in: Physical Therapy

The Best Physical Therapy for Sciatica

Many people suffer from pain dealing with sciatica, which refers to back pain caused by the sciatic nerve being pinched. This nerve starts at your lower back and runs down each leg, so people often have shooting pain going down their legs when dealing with sciatica.

In order to recover from sciatica, surgery is an option but not a great one. Sciatica can actually be treated easily with physical therapy, which is typically what people would prefer over getting expensive and invasive surgery.

Physical therapy for sciatica will be more effective in helping you become stronger, whereas surgery is a quick fix for the moment that doesn’t always hold up in the long run, sometimes requiring you to seek out further treatment or procedures if the pain returns.

What Is Sciatica?

Visiting with a physical therapist is the best way to treat sciatica. But before we dive into how to fix your pinched nerve, let’s find out if you have it to begin with.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Person with localized pain in the lower back

The most common symptom of sciatica is pain in the lower back area that continues down the leg (usually just one leg, not both at the same time). The pain can be easily triggered, so much so that simply sitting for long periods of time, sneezing, or coughing can agitate the affected area. Sometimes your leg will feel tingly, numb, or weak. The pain can come on suddenly and last for a few days or even a few weeks depending on how severely the nerve is pinched. 

It’s not uncommon for a person to have back issues; in fact, 85% of Americans deal with back pain. So how can you know if your back pain is from a pinched sciatic nerve or something completely different? What separates regular back pain from sciatica is the pain that shoots down to your foot — if that’s occurring, then you are likely dealing with a pinched nerve. 

Causes of Sciatica

Pregnant woman suffering from sciatic nerve pain

So who exactly suffers from sciatica? 

Typically, it happens to those between the ages of 30 and 50. However, pregnant women deal with it too when the baby has grown so large in the uterus and is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. Others can get pain in their sciatic nerves from herniated disks that pinch the nerve. Sometimes, the pain is caused by spinal arthritis, especially for elderly people.

Bulky leather wallet in a back jean pocket

One common cause of sciatic nerve pain that most people don’t really think about is their wallet in their back pocket. This especially applies to men who stuff their bulky wallets in their back pocket and sit on it most of the day. The uneven surface the wallet creates can cause discomfort in a person’s sciatic nerve and aggravate it. 

Physical Therapy Treatments for Sciatica

Woman getting physical therapy for Sciatica

Among the many different treatments for sciatica such as surgery, injections, pain medications, and home remedies, physical therapy is going to be the best option.

A physical therapy clinic is going to have more tools and equipment for you to use that will further the healing process along much quicker. Using special techniques given by a physical therapist will not only help heal your body at a faster rate, but it will help your body become stronger to prevent further injury.

At Pacific Rehab, we have specialized programs that can provide you with the care you need for a better back. Our Spinal Rehabilitation program is great for anyone wanting to be treated by qualified and expert physical therapists that use a hands-on technique to guide patients through the healing process. We will guide you through certain exercises and stretches that you can do at home. 

We even offer a specific program just for women. So if you’re going through a pregnancy right now and experiencing back pain, check out our Women’s Health program. Our physical therapists will help you through every step of the way and provide you with more comfort for your back.

With a variety of physical therapy clinic locations in the Bay Area, it’s easy to find a physical therapy clinic that’s near you. 

Make an appointment today

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