What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a term used to describe radiating pain into the buttock that may travel down the back of the thigh. Often this pain is achy and spread out along the buttock and back of the thigh.
Sciatica typically comes from irritation to the sciatic nerve, which travels deep in the buttock and down the back of the leg. In about 20% of people, the sciatic nerve pierces through the piriformis muscle deep in the buttock, instead of underneath it. This muscle helps guide hip movement, but can become very tight with prolonged sitting. This tightens causes pressure and irritation to the sciatic nerve causing pain.
Radiating pain to the leg doesn’t necessarily mean you have sciatica, but it does tell you that something is wrong. Irritated muscles and tissue often can radiate pain. Spread-out, achy pain is often indicative of this type of problem. Sharp, stabbing pain with numbness or tingling is more nerve irritation or compression occurring in the back or leg. This typically occurs more to specific parts of the leg.
How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy is one of the best treatments for sciatica and radiating pain into the leg. It first takes a thorough evaluation to determine where your problem is stemming from. Our physical therapists take time to examine the movement of your spine, hips and legs. Range of motion, strength, joint mobility and muscle condition are assessed by our medically trained physical therapists.
After we determine the root cause of your problem, we generate a comprehensive treatment plan to quickly relieve your pain, radiating symptoms, improve range of motion, improve strength and help you to prevent future episodes.
With gentle, specialized hands-on techniques we improve your spinal and hip mobility, reducing pressure on your sciatic nerve. In addition, modalities such as heat, ice, electrical stimulation and ultrasound may be used to reduce inflammation and resolve you pain quickly. We also perform gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to restore your normal motion and strength, resulting in lasting effects that will stop your pain from returning. Call us today to find out how we can help relieve your sciatica and leg pain, returning you to the activities you love.