What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the term used to describe radiating pain into the buttock that can travel down the back of the thigh. Often this pain is achy and spread out along these areas. Sciatica is a result of 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 under it. This can make the sciatic nerve more susceptible to irritation and pressure from the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle helps guide hip movement, but can become very tight with prolonged sitting. This increased tightness causes pressure and irritation to the sciatic nerve causing pain.
What is Radiating 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 low back or leg. These types of sensations typically occur 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 starting. 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 physical therapists. After we determine the root cause of your problem, we put together a comprehensive plan to quickly relieve your pain, relieve your radiating symptoms, improve your range of motion, improve strength and help you to prevent future episodes.
With gentle, specialized hands-on techniques we work to 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 your pain quickly. We then perform gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to restore your normal motion and strength. This results in lasting effects that will stop your pain from returning. Call us today to find out how we can relieve your Sciatica and radiating leg pain, returning you to the activities you love.