Physical Therapy for Sciatic Nerve Pain

Physical Therapy for Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatic nerve pain is a common issue that arises when the nerves running down from your lower back to your legs become compressed, irritated or injured. Physical therapy can help treat this condition and alleviate your symptoms.

If you are suffering from sciatic nerve pain, it’s essential to find a physical therapist who can evaluate your symptoms and provide strategies and exercises for relief. The sooner you begin physical therapy, the greater your chances of finding relief from sciatica.

Your physical therapist (PT) can guide you in performing the correct exercise to relieve sciatica symptoms by stretching different parts of your body. Stretching the muscles in your thighs, hips, and lower back are particularly effective at relieving symptoms related to sciatica.

Exercises that strengthen your core and lumbar spine are also beneficial in relieving sciatica symptoms. Doing so will build a stronger foundation for your spine, potentially reducing the likelihood of experiencing sciatica again in the future.

Our Hudson, MA physical therapists use stretching and strengthening exercises to target your muscles and enhance posture and stability.

Some of these stretches include a seated glute stretch, pigeon pose and standing hamstring stretch.

A physiotherapist may position your hip and leg in order to relax the nerve signals going down to your piriformis. This can help alleviate the discomfort associated with piriformis syndrome, which occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes trapped within your pelvic area.

Your therapist will create a tailored treatment plan that incorporates physical therapy and other non-surgical solutions to help you return to normal activities. They may suggest functional retraining, isometric/isotonic exercises, soft tissue massage, and nerve glides (nerve manipulation).

Research has demonstrated that combining manual and physical therapy can be especially helpful for people suffering from sciatica. Physiotherapy aims to alleviate symptoms through exercise, relaxation techniques, and education.

Studies have compared physiotherapy with conservative care, surgery or pharmacotherapy in patients with sciatica. Results have demonstrated that physical therapy was more successful than a control group; however the available literature only contains a few clinical trials from over ten years ago that are unsuited for meta-analysis due to poor reporting and heterogeneity within the studies.

Other treatments for sciatica include traction, which can relieve pressure on the spinal nerves; and electrical stimulation, which uses a device to trigger your brain to release endorphins. Unfortunately, these treatments tend to be more expensive than physical therapy but may not be as successful at relieving pain as physical therapy does.

In general, clinical guidelines recommend combining supervised exercise and manual therapy as the initial line of treatment for acute sciatica in primary care settings. The primary objective of this study was to determine whether physiotherapy combined with an advice-based intervention would be more successful at preventing and managing sciatica symptoms in those suffering from it compared to a control intervention.

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