Back Pain and Sciatica

  • April 26, 2022

Back Pain and Sciatica  

If you’re dealing with back pain, whether it’s due to sciatica or some other cause, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, back pain is so common that 8 out of 10 people will deal with it during their lifetime. Dealing with back pain can be a challenge because it requires a special approach if you want long-term results. Physical therapy is your most powerful weapon against back pain and sciatica because it gives genuine relief and lasting results. Contact our physical therapist today to get the low back pain and sciatica relief you need. 

What is Sciatica? 

Sciatica is a condition in which the sciatic nerve — the longest nerve in the human body — is damaged in some way, typically through severe compression or inflammation. Your sciatic nerve starts in your lower back and travels all the way down each of your legs, and when you have sciatica the pain may follow this same route. 

The main symptom of sciatica is low back pain, but you may also have other symptoms such as numbness and tingling that may travel all the way down to your feet. 

Causes of Sciatica 

The nerve damage that causes sciatica can happen in several different ways. One common cause of sciatica is a  herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc. Disc herniation happens when one of your discs outer starts to bulge.  As the disc bulges, it pressures your sciatic nerve, and this may cause sciatica symptoms like low back pain. 

While a herniated disc is the most common cause of sciatica, there are other potential causes as well. These can include:

  • Spinal Stenosis: when your spinal cord narrows and compresses the sciatic nerve.
  • Spondylolisthesis: when one of your lower back vertebrae slips out of place, often putting pressure on another vertebra and trapping the sciatic nerve. 
  • Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD): this is more likely to happen as the body ages. When the discs begin to wear down, they start thinning and can cause disc, vertebrae, and sciatic nerve issues including sciatica. 
  • Osteoarthritis/ Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD): when you have osteoarthritis, your spinal joints are highly inflamed. This causes so much swelling that it can impact the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica. 

How Physical Therapy Helps Sciatica and Low Back Pain 

Research has repeatedly proven that physical therapy is highly effective for sciatica and back pain relief. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended physical therapy for non-invasive pain relief. Physical therapy is the most powerful way to fight sciatica and low back pain for one simple reason: it focuses on actually dealing with — and eliminating — the pain at its source. In contrast, taking medications like pain relievers only gives you short-term symptom relief. After a few hours, you’ll need more medication and your symptoms will remain. After physical therapy, your back pain and sciatica symptoms will actually be resolved in the long term. 

Your physical therapist will perform a complete assessment to determine the origin of your pain and will then customize a plan for back pain and sciatica relief. Your treatment focuses on relieving the pressure on your sciatic nerve, healing damaged tissue, and alleviating inflammation. You’ll also grow stronger, improve your range of motion, and take steps to decrease the odds of re-injury in the future. 

Some of the treatments used for sciatica and low back pain include: 

  • Joint and tissue mobilizations and manipulations  
  • Therapeutic massage 
  • Active Release Technique (ART) 
  • Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization- Graston Technique 
  • Spinal traction 
  • Control exercises 
  • Cold IV laser therapy 
  • Electrical muscle stimulation 
  • Heat therapy 
  • Cold (ice) therapy 
  • Dry needling  
  • Prescribed strengthening exercises 

The non-invasive physical therapy techniques used by our team are specially chosen for two reasons: for your specific needs and their high effectiveness rates. Your physical therapist will use the best evidence-based treatments to help you beat sciatica pain, both now and in the long term. Contact us anytime to start your  

Treatment Options 

Post Surgical Rehabilitation 

Post Operative Spine Rehabilitation

  • Laminectomy 
  • Discectomy 
  • Fusion 

Self Treatment Exercises 

Back Exercise Videos

Stenosis Exercise Videos

Do you know in New Jersey you don’t need a prescription or a referral for physical therapy? 

We are Doctors of Physical Therapy and are licensed by the State of New Jersey to identify Movement Dysfunction/Pain. 

The faster you undergo care the faster your recovery. 

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