Is Physical Therapy for Sciatica an Effective Treatment?

physical therapy for sciatica

Sciatica is a painful condition which can seriously affect mobility.  Radiating down the back of one leg (usually), the pain can really slow you down.

Because I work in a multi-disciplinarian pain relief clinic here at Back & Body, I know what a difference the work of a physical therapist can make to sciatic nerve pain.  Physical therapists get results which bring relief and which empower patients to take charge of their wellbeing.

If you’re reading this because you’re suffering from sciatic pain and wondering if physical therapy can help, then I’m happy to say that the answer is a resounding “yes”.

A Multi-Faceted Discipline

Physical therapists work closely with their patients to provide them with not only relief, but with a better understanding of their bodies.

Using range of motion and strengthening exercises, your physical therapist will guide you toward normal function.  But the part played by the patient is crucial in the success of physical therapy treatment.

Your physical therapist will send you home with “homework” to support the work you’re doing here at the clinic.  It’s critical that you perform these exercises as prescribed, because they’ve been chosen to strengthen muscles which have become weak, creating imbalance which leads to pain.

Physical therapists also employ modalities like ultrasound and heat treatments to relax muscles, helping them return to a normative range of motion.

Stretching Crucial to Recovery

People have been known to scoff when the subject of stretching as a pain relief strategy comes up.  But here’s the thing.  It works.

Stretching the back and buttocks is especially important as part of a recovery program guided by a physical therapist.  Spinal extension is a key part of physical therapy but so is stretching the piriformis muscles, located near the tailbone, at the base of the spine.

Your physical therapist will get you started with these stretches, then send you home with simple directions so you can repeat them between sessions.

You’ll also learn how to stretch your hamstring muscles.  When these are tight, they can affect the performance of the piriformis, which helps your hips to rotate.  This can cause the impingement of the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatic pain.

Physical Therapy as a Lifestyle Support

Many people rely on physical therapy as a lifestyle support.  Active people, especially, find that the care of a physical therapist helps them maintain optimum function.

If you’re new to physical therapy, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after working with a therapist.  Even after a couple of sessions (especially if you perform the exercises and stretches prescribed on your own time), you’re going to feel much better.  You’ll also be much more aware of how your body works and how to keep it working.

Back & Body Medical

I’m proud to offer my chiropractic services at Back & Body in the heart of Manhattan.  Working with clinicians practicing acupuncture, sports medicine and of course, physical therapy, I can offer my patients 360-degree pain relief tailored to their needs.

Got sciatic pain?  Contact us.

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