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?
- 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.