Sciatica Explained

March 14, 2018

At BBN PT, we see many patients suffering from what is commonly known as sciatica. The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy, and it is also referred to as pinched or compressed nerve pain.  Sciatica is a scary condition because at it can be extraordinarily debilitating. However, sciatica is also highly treatable, with very few cases requiring surgery. We thought we would share some of our knowledge about sciatica including how to diagnose it, how we treat it, and most importantly how to AVOID IT!

 

How do I know if I have sciatica?

 

Symptoms of sciatica may include any of the following:

 

*Pain in the lower back that shoots down the leg, even as far as the toes

 

*Numbness, tingling, or burning down the leg

 

*Weakness in the leg or ankle

 

Sciatica tends to be a set of symptoms that is easy to diagnose.  Finding the root of the problem, however can be very complex and requires a trained professional, like a Physical Therapist or Physician. Finding the root is essential to effective treatment.  Please note that all leg pain is not indicative or sciatica. Leg pain can be a result of numerous other conditions such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction or piriformis syndrome.

 

If I have sciatica, do I need an MRI to start therapy?

 

In the vast majority of cases, getting an MRI first ends up costing more money, takes more time, and is completely unnecessary.  Your physical therapist is trained in diagnosis of movement dysfunction. We are always quick to let you know you need an MRI in cases where it is necessary.  However, we can often lead you on the road to recovery much quicker (not to mention cheaper) than waiting for an MRI.


What type of treatments does BBN use to treat sciatica?

 

Your PT will use a combination of the following:

 

*Manual therapy techniques to restore proper spinal alignment and mobility.

*Soft tissue techniques to reduce inflammation and loosen tight muscles

*Strengthening exercises to develop support for your spine

*Stretching exercises to improve your mobility

 

I don't have sciatica. I definitely don't want it! Can you tell me how to avoid it?

 

Glad you asked. We’ve summed it up nicely in our free E-Book, “Secrets to Easing Back Pain”. The exact same suggestions used to ease back pain will go a long way in preventing sciatica pain. Visit this link to download your copy. Please note the exercises in this eBook are NOT for treating sciatica. They are for strengthening your back. If you already have a diagnosis of sciatica—come see us and we’ll get you on the path to healing.

 

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