Sciatica: How Physical Therapy Can Help

At Level4 Physical Therapy and Performance, it is not unusually for us to hear of people complaining of either pain or numbness while favoring their back. Medical doctors often suggest physical therapy and stretching to help relieve the incredible pain of Sciatica. Treatment can begin while there is still pain, but the hopeful outcome is that the pressure on the Sciatic nerve is relieved through stretching and exercise, relieving the agonizing pain and eliminating the limping.

How does Sciatica Cause Pain?

Sciatica is not a “true” medical diagnosis, but rather it describes a symptom that does not exactly point to the true underlying physical problem. Sciatic pain can originate either in the lower back region or in the buttock and can spread down the back of one or both legs; following the path of the Sciatic nerve.

The Sciatic nerve can be the source of pain when it is compressed by soft tissue, bone, scar tissue, inflammation and/or pressure from a intervertebral disc. The Sciatic nerve travels through the lumbar vertebrae, across the buttocks, and then branches down the legs to the feet.

Problems that generate this type of sciatic pain includes the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic misalignment
  • Herniated disc
  • Stenosis (the narrowing of the nerve space)
  • Decreased flexibility in muscles of the hip joint

Focusing on Pain Relief

Considered one of the most painful conditions that involve the lower back and legs, the Sciatic nerve system consists of the largest nerve (as big as your thumb) and the individual nerve roots branching out from the spine. When this very large sciatic nerve is irritated, it makes simple movements in life a living nightmare of pain.

Different areas of compression along this nerve are often the cause of varying symptoms involving the lumbar area of the back, muscles of the buttocks, back of the thighs, and behind the knees, ankles, feet and toes. Nerve impingement creates numbness, tingling, weakness, and deep pain.

Medical doctors understand that everyone experiences this type of back pain differently. They prescribe physical therapy treatments knowing that professional therapists perform evaluations to discern the best type of treatment modes for each individual. For the specific needs of sciatica patients, a combination of solutions are offered.

How to Manage Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica pain varies from constant and incapacitating to occasional episodes. This pain varies because of the different locations where the Sciatic nerve can be compressed, pinched or irritated. Some patients experience pain, tingling, and numbness down both legs. Others experience sciatic pain on only one side and down one leg.

First, unlike other types of back injury pain problems, physicians recommend that patients keep moving. But, this is difficult to achieve when certain movements are extremely painful. Patients need to maintain their back and leg muscle strength to prevent further compression in the Sciatic nerve. This is precisely why medical doctors recommend that their patients meet with a physical therapist to determine a set of therapies most appropriate for specific pain areas. Treatments may include gentle pain free exercises, stretching, massage and proper bending and movement instructions, according to when patients experience relief.

This is why at Level 4 Physical Therapy & Performance, we implement Pilates exercises early and safely – to focus on strengthening your core muscles, keeping you flexible and active in a pain free range, and to help assist with pain relief.

Clinical research studies show the sooner a patient begins physical therapy, the better the outcomes are. Physical therapy should begin within 10-14 days of the onset of pain.

If you’re experiencing Sciatica pain, call us now at (760) 503-4440 or email us at theteam@level4pt.com to arrange a FREE Discovery Visit with one of our back/Sciatica specialists.

Click below to claim your special report with 9 of the top tips to help ease your back/sciatica pain…

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I hope this article is able to help you make a better decision for your health and if you think a friend or family member would benefit from reading this (or needs to read it), feel free to share it with them.

Enjoy!

Dedicated to Restoring Your Health,

Dr. Oscar Andalon, PT, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, USAW1, FMS, SFMA

San Diego’s Leading Back Pain Specialist at Level4 Physical Therapy & Performance

Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

Dr. Oscar Andalon is a leading and trusted sports physical therapist, strength coach, performance enhancement specialist, educator, author, and Co-Founder of Level4 Physical Therapy, Wellness & Performance – San Diego’s Leading Specialty Private Physical Therapy and Human Performance Practice for People in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, who value their health and want to restore or maximize their active and healthy lifestyle.

For more than 16 years, thousands of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and active people of all ages, levels and sports including Olympic medalists, professional, collegiate and recreational athletes have consulted Oscar; looking for answers to concerning questions about a fast end to their pain and best ways to improving performance.

Prior to living in Carlsbad, CA, he worked as Clinic Director for a 20,000 sq.ft. sports physical therapy and performance center. He became known as the “athlete whisperer” in the Pacific Northwest by becoming the leading sports performance enhancement physical therapist and CrossFit injury rehab and performance specialist. He also was known as a consultant to the Nike WHQ in Portland, OR.

Oscar’s passion for excelling in sports earned him the opportunity to compete in soccer both at the Division 1 collegiate level at University of San Francisco and at the professional level playing for the California Jaguars; giving him the understanding and experience of knowing what it takes to perform and excel at the highest level of competition. Oscar is an orthopedic and sports performance specialist with a true passion in helping athletes and fitness fanatics of all ages and divisions, serving as an educator to bridge the gap between rehab and strength and conditioning.
Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

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