Make the Most of Your Sciatica Pain Management Plan with Physical Therapy

Oct 02, 2023
Make the Most of Your Sciatica Pain Management Plan with Physical Therapy
Sciatica is a type of shooting pain that radiates down your leg along the largest nerve in your body — the sciatic nerve. Discover how physical therapy can enhance your treatment and reduce symptoms.

Sciatica is common, but many people misunderstand the condition and its causes. An estimated 40% of people experience it in their lifetime thanks to spinal conditions that compress the sciatic nerve, which is your body’s longest nerve.

Any type of nerve compression can cause pain, tingling, or numbness, which are all characteristics of sciatica. With sciatica, such symptoms radiate down the pathway of the sciatic nerve. 

The nerve travels through your pelvis and buttock and down the back of your leg. It includes both motor nerves and sensory nerves, so sciatica symptoms are understandably complex. Radiating pain is the most common symptom, but leg weakness and numbness can occur in more severe cases.

Pain management specialists Haddis T. Hagos, MD, and Brent Earls, MD, can intervene to alleviate sciatica symptoms and prevent it from becoming chronic. At Pain Management Associates LLC in Greenbelt, Maryland, you can find top-of-the-line care for sciatica, regardless of its underlying cause. Sciatica can come from bone spurs, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, and other spinal conditions that tend to pinch nerves. 

One key component of any effective pain management plan is physical therapy, a critical part of pain management for almost any musculoskeletal condition. While one might assume physical therapy is best for functional goals like strength-building or increasing flexibility, it’s also an excellent option for pain reduction. 

As you navigate getting your sciatica diagnosis and treatment, consider the important roles of physical therapy for sciatica management. 

Exploring the benefits of physical therapy for sciatica

We now know that physical therapy can help your sciatica improve, but how does it work? A physical therapist collaborates with your pain management specialist to create a goal-based rehabilitation program that focuses on specific goals:

Healing your underlying condition

The best way to reduce sciatica symptoms is to heal the underlying condition. Spinal conditions that cause nerve compression like herniated discs and spondylolisthesis can heal without surgery, and physical therapy is a great way to promote the necessary healing. 

Improving lower body mobility

During physical therapy, you work on exercises dictated by your therapist. You practice specific muscle movements to restore functional movement patterns that don’t cause pain and reduce sciatica flare-ups. 

Reducing your pain perception

Physical therapy can promote the adaptation of your nerves to reduce your pain perception, thus alleviating the primary symptom of sciatica. 

What to expect from physical therapy for sciatica

Physical therapy isn’t just a goals-based exercise routine. It involves curated exercises that promote better spinal movement, alleviate nerve compression, and accomplish other goals related to your sciatica. Your physical therapist might recommend additional forms of physical therapy or treatment, including:

  • Posture work
  • Joint manipulation or mobilization
  • Manual therapy
  • Massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Traction
  • Heat and ice

You can expect to continue care on your own at home, too. Your physical therapist may recommend lifestyle modifications or practicing exercises regularly on your own time. 

Taking a comprehensive approach

Physical therapy is just one piece of the comprehensive interventional pain management pie. Our experts at Pain Management Associates also make sure your sciatica pain management plan includes other advanced treatments, including nerve blocks, steroid injections, and minimally invasive lumbar decompression (mild®). 

To schedule a treatment consultation, call us at Pain Management Associates LLC or book online today.