relieve sciatica pain

How to Relieve Sciatica Pain with Physical Therapy

What is Sciatica? 

Anybody who's suffered from Sciatica knows it isn't comfortable! It can inhibit you from doing the things you really love. Without proper treatment, Sciatica symptoms can become more and more severe. 


But for the readers out there who aren't sure if they're experiencing Sciatica or something else, it would be important to explore what this condition actually is!


Sciatica is when you experience nerve pain in the leg caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Symptoms can include muscle spasms, pain, numbness, one-sided symptoms, and posture issues. 

Location & purpose of the Sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, playing a vital role in connecting the spine to the thighs, legs, and feet. This long bulky nerve originates from the lower back, runs down the legs, and ends at the feet.


This nerve supplies motor and sensory function to the legs, making it possible to stand, walk, run, jump, climb and sit! So, an essential nerve is needed for everyday movement. So what are some of the common causes for the nerve to become irritated, leading to Sciatica?

What causes Sciatica?

Many causes, conditions, and activities can lead to Sciatica. Some of the most common causes of Sciatica are related to:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • A herniated disk
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Bone overgrowth
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Occupations that put a strain on the body


Environmental, occupational, and structural issues could contribute to Sciatica. But before we look at different ways to treat Sciatica, let's see how can we prevent it.

How can you go about preventing Sciatica?

Through healthy practice, a clean diet, exercise, and proper hygiene practices, you can learn to prevent Sciatica. 


  • If you're a smoker, one of the things you can do is stop smoking. Easier said than done, but there's no way around it.
  • If you're overweight or on the brink of obesity, exercise and weight loss can take pressure off of the Sciatic nerve.
  • Taking care of your posture while sitting, standing, and sleeping can minimize the risk of an irritated Sciatic nerve.
  • Sitting down for way too long can lead to many problems. Make sure to get up and stretch to avoid compressing your sciatic nerve.


Now that we've explored common symptoms, causes, and prevention tactics... let's have a look at some of the things you can do to treat Sciatica and minimize pain!

How to treat Sciatica

If you’ve been diagnosed with Sciatica or suspect that you might have Sciatica, there are several practitioners you can approach to help you reduce the pain. If you can’t afford to see a practitioner, there are some at-home therapies that you can use as well. Which we'll talk about here shortly.


  1. Physical therapy

If you've been diagnosed with Sciatica, seeing a physical therapist can be one of the best first steps you can take to the road for recovery. Physical therapists can assess you through physical examinations. Through massaging and manipulation techniques, Physical Therapists can help treat pain and work with you to create a solid rehabilitation plan. 


  1. Medication

Medication for pain relief can be used to control sciatic pain. If you're struggling to walk, stand or move—paracetamol or ibuprofen can help minimize pain. If you’re suffering from muscle spasms, there are medications you can take like muscle relaxants and tranquilizers to reduce spastic activity. 


  1. Surgery

In extreme cases of Sciatica, one might need to undergo surgery. Most cases of Sciatica do go away within about 10-12 weeks. Still, surgical intervention might be required in the more severe cases that last longer, such as surgical removal or manipulation of bones or discs.

  1. At home therapy

There are a few at-home therapies available for you to try as well. Temperature packs, either hot or cold, can help to numb the pain or relax the muscles that might be overcompensating. There are several stretches you can do as well to make your muscles more flexible such as the scissor stretch, knee to opposite shoulder stretch, groin muscle stretch and the pigeon pose. 


  1. Chiropractor or Acupuncture

Both practices are super helpful in treating structural issues and nerve pain. Both practitioners can help treat Sciatica symptoms to get you back on your feet through chiropractic spinal manipulation or nerve and needle techniques.


What’s right for you?

Whether you decide to approach a surgeon, a physical therapist, or a chiropractor or acupuncturist, you should always talk to a health professional to make sure you’re making the right decision. 

Get In Touch With Us Today

If you’d like personal 1:1 care or want to learn more, please contact us at (410) 946-1672, or click here. We’ll get you in touch with one of our dedicated professionals. At True Sports Physical Therapy, your health is always front of mind! It’s our mission to help you get off the sidelines and back on your feet in the fastest and safest way possible.

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