• Broadway Physical Therapy

Understanding Sciatica

Updated: Sep 5, 2018

Understanding Sciatica 


Sciatica is one of the most common Diagnosis seen in a Physical Therapy Clinic. Sciatica can be both acute/chronic and typically is treatable with non-operative treatments, however those with severe cases of Sciatica and leg weakness or bowel/bladder changes may require surgical procedure. 

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that travels along the Sciatic Nerve from the low back down in to the buttocks and hips as well as down the legs as well. Typically Sciatica symptoms are seen on one side of the body. 

How does Sciatica Start?

Great Question!. Typically Sciatic can start from a Herniated Disc, Narrowing of the Spinal Canal or Bone Spurs which cause compression of the Sciatic nerve. Often with Sciatica there is pain, numbness, and inflammation. 

What are the Symptoms?

Common Symptoms of Sciatica include: 

*Pain radiating from your low back to buttocks or leg

*Pain can be a dull ache, sharp pain or burning/electric pain

*Numbness/Tingling and/or Muscle Weakness

What Puts Me At Risk:

Age- Changes in the spine over time lead to bone spurs/herniated disks

Obesity-Excess body weight puts stress on your spine and can trigger Sciatica 

Job- Those who do heavy lifting/twisting or prolonged sitting at work are more susceptible to develop Sciatica


Diabetes- Those with Diabetes have increased risk of nerve damage.

Treatment: - Anti-inflammatories, Muscle Relaxants and Narcotics are sometimes used. - Steroid Injections- to help with inflammation 

-Physical Therapy- Ex's for core strengthening to help alleviate stress on spine - Severe cases surgery is required 


When do I Seek Medical Advice?

 For those with symptoms that persist for more than one month should seek their Physical Therapist and/or MD to perform treatment. Physical Therapy has shown good results for pain relief and return to previous level of function. 

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