Yes, it’s true Sciatica is a pain in the butt! Literally. However, the sciatic nerves are not confined to the gluteus maximus, the body’s largest nerves; sciatic nerves extend from the low back to your toes. The nerves exit the spine between two vertebrae in the lower back, travel behind the hip joint on both sides, down the buttock, and back each leg into the foot.
One of the most important things about Sciatica is first identifying you have it and then determining what is causing it, in order to treat it effectively. If you don’t seek help for sciatic problems, over time, the condition may only continue to get worse and cause lasting damage to the lower back and hips.
Dr. Elijah Chiang PT, DPT from Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy (Tempe Location), shows us his top 4 exercises to relieve sciatic nerve pain.
What causes Sciatic nerve pain?
Sciatic pain can be caused by numerous reasons, such as a herniated disc or a narrowing of your spine. However, the most common reason is a pinching of the sciatic nerve as it passes through/around the lower limbs’ gluteal region. This is often caused by a rotation in the pelvis and/or weakness in the glutes. In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and the adjacent bone, the symptoms may involve pain and numbness and muscle weakness in the leg because of interrupted nerve signaling.
What are the most common symptoms of Sciatica?
Some of the most common symptoms are radiating pain down the backside of the leg. Symptoms will usually run north to south. If the symptoms are on the outside of your leg or down the front, it is usually a different issue.
Other common symptoms of Sciatica include:
- General lower back pain
- A pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
- Hip pain
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness, or a hard time moving the leg or foot
- Constant pain on one side of the rear
- A shooting pain that makes it hard to stand up
How soon can you find relief after physical therapy?
It takes approximately four weeks to build new muscle, and the change in symptoms usually corresponds to the building of new muscles to decrease compensations. Temporary relief can generally be achieved within a few visits, but lasting changes are highly variable with factors such as how long you have had the sciatic pain.
What is the best treatment for Sciatica pain?
Massages to the hips and lower back are usually a great way to manage symptoms. Icing the hip and lower back when radiating symptoms are severe can generally decrease the symptoms. Acupuncture and dry needling are also suitable alternative treatments. In most cases, Sciatica resolves in a few weeks with conservative treatment such as exercise and physical therapy. However, for some patients, pain can last much longer, and treatment should be individualized.
Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy is a group of locally-owned Phoenix Area physical therapy clinics that provide quality, hands-on care to all of our patients, ensuring optimal results with our Full RecoveryFocus™. We offer a free assessment of any injuries you might have; if you would like to be evaluated for sciatic or back pain issues, schedule online today.