Sciatica–A Real Pain in the Butt!

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe the symptoms of leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that travel down the low back via the sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. Sciatica describes the symptoms one experiences, not a diagnosis. A herniated disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis can all cause sciatica.

What risk factors are associated with sciatica?

  • Smoking
  • Tall height in older age groups (50 to 60 years)
  • Obesity and excess weight
  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Vitamin B 12 deficiency
  • Physical deconditioning from a sedentary, inactive lifestyle
  • Certain types of occupation (such as truck drivers, carpenters, or machine operators)
  • Poor work ergonomics

What are the signs/symptoms?

  • Pain – Sciatica pain may be constant or intermittent. The pain is usually described as a burning sensation or a sharp, shooting pain.
  • Altered sensation. Numbness, tingling, and/or a pins-and-needles sensation may be felt at the back of the leg.
  • Weakness may be felt in the leg and foot. A feeling of heaviness in the affected leg may make it difficult to lift the foot off the floor.

What can PT do to treat sciatica?

  • Restore pain-free functional movement patterns
  • Relieve lower back, buttock, thigh, and leg pain
  • Reduce muscle spasm
  • Restore function of the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint
  • Improve mobility of the lower body
  • Prevent future pain flareups and reduce fear associated with movement

Sciatica can be a real pain in the butt! Our physical therapists at Elite Therapy Solutions are here to help! Give us a call at 610-466-7060 to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our therapists.

From Back Pain to Back in Action

Low back pain is one of the most common diagnoses our physical therapists treat – and for good reason! Over 80% of Americans will experience an episode of low back pain at some point during their lives1. Physical therapy is an effective, safe, and cost-conscious way to treat this condition and help people get back to living their best lives. While there are many treatment options for handling back pain, physical therapy should be considered a first line of defense.

According to a study published in Health Science Research, patients who saw a physical therapist first when they started experiencing back pain, compared to patients who waited to see a physical therapist or never saw one at all, had the following results2:

  • Lower out-of-pocket costs
  • Lower pharmacy costs
  • Lower outpatient costs
  • 87% less likely to need an opioid prescription
  • 28% less likely to need imaging services
  • 15% less likely to make an emergency room visit.

Not only are there financial benefits to using a safe alternative such as physical therapy, but research shows that the sooner a patient comes in for an appointment, the faster they recover. This can help prevent an acute problem from becoming a chronic one. That is why we always strive to get your patients in quickly – usually within 24 to 48 hours! With 2 convenient locations, we are ready to help your patients all across Chester County get back and better than ever.

1Study: Seeing a PT First for LBP Lowers Overall Costs, Reduces Chances of Later Opioid Prescription. (2018, May 24). Retrieved from http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2018/05/24/PTFirstForLBP/

2Freburger, J. K., Holmes, G. M., Agans, R. P., Jackman, A. M., Darter, J. D., Wallace, A. S., . . . Carey, T. S. (2009, February 09). The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339077/