by Gavin Morrison on October 31, 2014

Sciatica is the term that refers to a pain that radiates down the back of the leg. Sciatica is caused by a problem in the low back such as a bulging disc that puts pressure on one or more of the spinal nerves (pinched nerve). Some form of low back pain and stiffness often but not always accompanies sciatica. Sciatica is also known as spinal radiculopathy.

H disk

Sciatica symptoms range from a constant dull ache in the lower back, hips and leg to lightening sharp pains radiating all the way down the leg below the knee to the foot. The further the pain radiates down the leg the more severe the compression of the nerve is. That is why physicians often ask sciatica patients whether their leg pain extends below the knee.

Other conditions that cause leg pain that mimics sciatica:

·    Piriformis Syndrome
·    Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Effective Treatment for Sciatica

Physical therapy for sciatica resembles treatment for many other back problems. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and stiffness in the back and legs, restore range of motion in the hips, stretch the hamstrings and hip rotators and strengthen core and low back muscles.

sciatic nerve

Deep tissue massage and therapist assisted stretching help reduce back pain and restore natural spinal motion.

Stretching hip muscles such as the hamstrings can also have a profound effect on reducing low back and sciatic pain. This is because tight muscles that reduce range of motion in the hips are often the root cause of many lower back problems. When the hips do not move freely, the legs pull on the pelvis during activities such as walking and bending, this in turn causes too much motion in the low back which irritates discs and soft tissues causing pain and inflammation. Inflamed discs and soft tissues swell up and put pressure on spinal nerves, which causes Sciatica.

Strengthening lower back and core muscles helps to stabilize the lower spine during activity, which in turns reduces irritation of discs and soft tissues.

Learning and using proper lifting mechanics and being conscience of one’s posture and movement patterns also help reduce irritation in the low back.

To find out more about getting treatment for sciatica call Pro Motion Physical Therapy – 208-608-0958

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