How Physical Therapy Can Help Sciatica

How Physical Therapy Can Help Sciatica

Do you plan your days around preventing sciatica pain? Learning about physical therapy for sciatica might improve your quality of life and prevent future flare-ups. 

Our team at Align Health & Wellness uses physical therapy in Freehold, NJ, and surrounding areas to help our patients overcome painful, debilitating conditions like sciatica. We outlined how PT can help you manage sciatica below.

How Does Sciatica Affect Your Life?

Up to 30% of people suffering from sciatica will experience chronic pain in the years following their diagnosis, according to PubMed Central. Are you one of those people? If so, you might have a few questions constantly running through your mind. Those questions may include:

  • Is there a cure for sciatica? Sciatica has no definitive cure. However, you can use various treatments to enjoy the life you desire. 
  • Can physical therapy help with sciatica? A well-rounded physical therapy routine combined with a healthy diet and other routine changes can help with sciatica. 
  • Will physical therapy trigger a flare-up? While physical therapy shouldn’t trigger a flare-up, it can cause discomfort resembling one. 
  • How long does physical therapy take for sciatica? The time frame depends on what you can handle during your sessions and other health factors.  
  • What is the best physical therapy for sciatica? The best therapy plan for you depends on what your doctor and therapist determine based on your overall condition. 

Essentially, sciatica is a pinched nerve. The sciatic nerve starts at your lower back and travels down your leg. Pinched nerves typically occur when a vertebrae or muscle puts much pressure on the affected nerve. 

You suffer from that tell-tale shooting pain as a result. Various forms of sciatica, such as lumbar radiculopathy, may produce different pain levels. While many people recover from this condition with no further complications, others require medical treatments to prevent chronic problems or recurring flare-ups. 

Why Explore Physical Therapy for Sciatica?

According to the CDC, 50 million Americans struggle with chronic pain for a myriad of reasons, pinched nerves among them. Chronic sciatica can render you unable to sit, stand, or lie down without significant discomfort. You might also endure:

  • Poor sleep quality
  • Added stress
  • Difficulty staying mobile
  • Limited range of motion

Physical therapy in West Windsor, NJ, and surrounding areas might provide the relief you crave. After all, everyone can benefit from daily exercise. However, chronic conditions can make such routines nearly impossible. 

Gallup poll showed that physical therapy ranked as one of the most effective treatments for back and neck pain, according to responding patients. It may offer long-term relief by naturally relaxing and strengthening your lower back and the muscles supporting it. Plus, physical activity can improve your mindset and sense of well-being, which enriches other aspects of your life.  

Learn more about physical therapy for sciatica below. 

In-Person and At-Home Routines

Your therapist will work with you to create an optimal therapy routine. A pertinent portion of your program may include performing certain exercises at home. Many PT exercises translate well into at-home routines. Some examples include:

  • Press-up: If you’ve ever done yoga stretches, you might appreciate the familiarity of the press-up. It bears a striking resemblance to the cobra stretch. Form a straight line with your body while lying on your stomach. Slowly lift yourself with your forearms, putting gentle pressure on your glutes and thighs. 
  • Straight leg raise: Lie on your back, keeping both knees bent upward. Straighten one leg and lift it about six inches above the ground for five seconds. Repeat with the other leg. 
  • Back flexion: Like with the leg raise, lie flat on your back. Then, curl your head and neck toward your chest, bending your knees to your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds. 

Diverse Approaches To Improve Mobility

Physical therapy isn’t just about exercise. Your therapist will also help you give your muscles and the rest of your body what they need to relax. Some helpful therapies include:

  • Temperature therapies: Have you never noticed how relaxed you feel during a hot shower? Temperature therapies use a similar approach. Your therapist may introduce intense but calming heat to the affected area, followed by cold substances to ease inflammation. 
  • Myofascial release: This treatment works like a massage. Physical stimulation releases tension in the surface muscles on your lower back and upper leg, drawing pressure away from the sciatica nerve. 
  • Lifestyle guidance: Specific foods and lifestyle habits can reduce overall inflammation and help you manage stress more effectively. These changes may relieve tension throughout your body. 

PT also works in conjunction with other treatments, such as medication or injections for pain relief. 

Long-Term Pain Relief

Finally, consistent therapy participation can offer lasting pain relief or effective management. Medications may quickly soothe the pain, but they don’t permanently solve the problem. Surgeries may cause further complications. Physical therapy in Allentown, NJ, on the other hand, uses time-tested physical movement to improve muscle strength and relieve pressure.  

Align Health & Wellness Provides Physical Therapy in Allentown, NJ, and Surrounding Areas

Align Health & Wellness provides physical therapy for sciatica and other conditions. You can also discover how physical therapy after a car accident may improve your prognosis at (609) 259-4991.

Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best physical therapy for sciatica?

The best physical therapy for sciatica depends on what your therapist recommends. Many professionals suggest press-ups and extension exercises. 

How long does physical therapy take for sciatica?

Physical therapy for sciatica can take between one to three months to provide sciatica relief. Results often depend on the exercise frequency and consistency. 

Which exercise for sciatica can I do at home?

An exercise for sciatica you can do at home is a gentle cardio routine like walking or jogging. Your therapist can recommend other exercises to further reduce leg pain or re-injury. 

What should I avoid during a sciatica flare-up?

You should avoid sitting down for long periods during a sciatica flare-up. The sitting position places added pressure on the affected nerve and muscles.

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