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what is the best physical therapy for sciatica?

Updated: Nov 28, 2022


Sciatica is a condition that can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the lower back and legs. Many people turn to physical therapy as a way to treat sciatica. But what is the best physical therapy for sciatica? In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of physical therapy available for sciatica and how they can help you get relief from your symptoms. Your physical therapist will create a personalized exercise program to focus on a few key areas including:

  • Core strength

  • Glute strength

  • Hip mobility

  • Neural mobility

  • Back extensor strength

Sciatica is a common condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the leg, becomes compressed or irritated. While sciatica can be caused by a variety of factors, including herniated discs, bone SpurS, and muscle imbalances, the most common cause is a herniated disc. When a disc herniates, it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the leg. Treatment for sciatica typically includes a combination of rest, ice, and heat therapy, as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. In some cases, sciatica may resolve on its own without treatment. However, if the pain is severe or lasts for more than a few days, it is important to see a physical therapist or doctor for further evaluation and treatment.


Specific Movement To Reduce Sciatic Pain


One popular physical therapy technique for sciatica is McKenzie physical therapy. This type of therapy involves a series of stretches and exercises that focus on your directional preference movements. These directional preference movements are specific to each individual, so your physical therapist will help you determine what works best for you. The goal of these movements is to reduce pain, improve strength, and balance the muscles in your back.



Directional Preference Based Physical TherapY


McKenzie physical therapy also includes strengthening exercises to strengthen the muscles around your sciatic nerve. These exercises are designed to increase flexibility and mobility while reducing sciatic pain and discomfort. Your physical therapist can also teach you proper form when performing any exercise, ensuring that it is done safely and effectively.


Hip Mobility Training

One of the most effective treatments is improving hip mobility. By working on increasing the range of motion in your hips, you can take pressure off of your lower back and diminish your symptoms. Physical therapy is one way to improve hip mobility, but there are also stretches and exercises that you can do at home. If you suffer from back pain, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about ways to improve your hip mobility and reduce your pain.


Neural Mobilization To Reduce Nerve Tension


One type of physical therapy that can be helpful for sciatica is neural mobilization. This technique involves the physical therapist gently stretching and moving the sciatic nerve in order to reduce tension on it. This can help relieve pain and other symptoms associated with sciatica. The physical therapist may also use manual techniques such as massage and trigger point release to provide further relief from sciatica symptoms.


Strength Training For Sciatica


Another type of physical therapy used to treat sciatica is strength training. Strength training focuses on strengthening the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve, which can help reduce pressure on it. This can help improve mobility and flexibility in the lower back, pelvis, and legs to reduce sciatic pain. The program will be tailored to your individual needs and fitness level, so it’s important that you communicate with the physical therapist about any concerns or goals.


Core Strengthening


As anyone who has ever experienced sciatica or low back pain knows, these conditions can be incredibly debilitating. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to help ease the pain and improve your condition. One of the most important things you can do is to focus on strengthening your core muscles. These muscles play a vital role in supporting your spine, and strong core muscles can help to take pressure off of your lower back. In addition, regular core strengthening can help to improve your posture and increase your overall flexibility. If you're not sure how to get started, talking to a physical therapist or personal trainer can be a great way to learn some specific exercises that will help address your individual needs.


Glute Strengthening


Glute strengthening

It's no secret that having strong glutes can help you look good in jeans, but did you know that glute strength can also help to reduce low back pain and the effects of sciatica? The gluteus muscles are the largest muscles in the body, and they play a vital role in stabilizing the pelvis and supporting the spine. When these muscles are weak, it can put extra stress on the low back and lead to pain and inflammation. Physical therapy and glute strengthening exercises are often recommended as part of a rehabilitation program for people suffering from low back pain or sciatica. By building up the strength of these muscles, you can help to take some of the pressure off of your low back and get relief from pain.


Back Extensor Strengthening


Back extensor strengthening is key to recovering from sciatica for a few reasons. First, back strength is important for overall back health. A strong back can help to prevent future injuries and pain. Second, back extensor strengthening can help to reduce the symptoms of sciatica. By strengthening the muscles in the back, you can help to take pressure off of the sciatic nerve. Lastly, back extensor strengthening can help to improve your range of motion. By improving your back strength, you can also improve your flexibility and mobility. As a result, back extensor strengthening is an essential part of recovering from sciatica.

Lumbar Decompression To Reduce Disc Compression on the Nerve


Spinal nerves

Another technique used in physical therapy for sciatica is lumbar traction. This type of physical therapy involves gentle stretching and pressure being applied to the lower back in order to reduce disc compression on the sciatic nerve. The goal is to increase space between vertebrae and reduce pain. This can be done through a variety of techniques including manual mobilization, mechanical decompression, or even water-based traction.

By utilizing these different types of physical therapies, sciatica symptoms can often be reduced significantly. If you’re dealing with sciatic pain, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best physical therapy options available for you. With the right treatment plan, sciatica can be managed successfully and treated without needing surgery.


If you are having sciatica or low back pain give us a call and see how one of our physical therapists can help you!



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