Sciatica Treatment

Do you or someone you know suffer from pain, numbness or tingling in your legs, feet, buttocks or lower back?
Have you or someone you know missed work due to Sciatica or back pain?

As physical therapists, and back specialists, we hear these complaints on a regular basis. The key for successful sciatic nerve treatment is finding the root cause for the symptom manifesting itself as “sciatica.” The 3 most common causes of sciatica are: Herniated discs (HNP), Arthritis/Stenosis and Pelvic or SI joint problems.

Other less common causes of sciatica are nerve roots that may have shortened or scarred down as a result of surgery, an unstable lumbar spine also known as spondylolisthesis, or a muscle in spasm such as the Piriformis which can entrap the sciatic nerve causing pain to refer down the leg.

Matching the right sciatica treatment with the right problem is essential in successful back pain management. Back patients may appear to have similar complaints, don’t be fooled. Following the wrong treatment approach will quickly compound your problem!

For example, when someone has a herniated disc, the directionality of our treatment is to close down the spine to manage the amount of material exiting the disc on the nerve root. The body needs time to plug up the hole where the disc material is seeping out……in the meantime, we encourage “extension” exercises to relieve the symptoms and to promote healing (scarring) of the disc wall. An incorrect Herniated Disc Treatment erroneously involves flexing the spine before the disc is well-healed, which will encourage more disc material to leak out of the disc wall (repeatedly tearing the scab/scar tissue off the healing disc) further irritating the nerve root and escalating pain! This is a process which requires the assessment skills of a back pain specialist, to quickly manage your symptoms, returning you to work and the activities you love.

A patient who has spinal stenosis or an advanced stage of arthritis, requires the exact opposite treatment approach which involves “flexion” exercises (bending forward) to assist the body in opening space in this type of patient. Successful Sciatica therapy/treatment for stenosis also involves decompression, traction and manual therapy.

The complexities of pelvic and SI joint dysfunctions often involve a combined approach of various directionalities throughout the hips, pelvis and SI joints. These areas can be a bit more tricky as the pelvis/SI joints may rotate out of alignment and in opposing directions between the right and left pelvis. This type of Back Pain Management offers relief when the balance between the right and left pelvis has been restored. Our physical therapists are experts in finding the root cause and prescribing the right balance of corrective exercises. Exercises that may work for the left side of the body are often completely different than the prescribed exercises for the right side……this is a complex problem-solving process! Symptoms often begin to dissipate almost immediately when the root cause and treatment are carefully matched (there are exceptions: comorbidities, surgery, chronic injections and medicines).

What makes Christine F. Hayes, P.T., P.C. – Physical Therapy truly unique is the amount of time we create and dedicate for hands-on healing. We believe manual therapy is critical in your recovery. Our hands-on skills include myofascial release, active release, joint mobilization and manipulation, cranio-sacral, traction/ decompression all followed by selective exercise integration. Postural changes are implemented which are necessary for healing and preventing back re-injury.

After graduating from our Physical Therapy Back Program, we also offer “Foundation Training” which focuses on core stability and spinal endurance training in a group environment, pilates and yoga therapy all conveniently offered in The Integrated Healing Center, affiliated with Christine F. Hayes, P.T., P.C. – Physical Therapy.

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