Sciatica: How Physical Therapy Can Help


Sciatica… Or Sciatic nerve irritation… Or pain down your leg that comes from your back.

At LEVEL4 PT & Wellness, it is not unusual for us to hear of people complaining of either pain or numbness while protecting 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.

Thera re different locations where the Sciatic nerve can become 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.

Here is a stretch that often provides relief to patients who are suffering from Sciatica.

Why LEVEL4 PT & Wellness?

This is why at LEVEL4 PT & Wellness, we implement Pilates exercises early and safely.

This allows us to focus on strengthening your core muscles.

It also keeps 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 to arrange a FREE Discovery Visit with one of our back/Sciatica specialists.

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

Receive Your Free Sciatica Pain Tips Guide »


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.


Dedicated to Restoring Your Health,

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

San Diego’s Leading Sciatica Pain Specialist at LEVEL4 PT & Wellness

Get a 7 Min Daily Stretching Guide Here »


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