Sciatica is pain that starts in the lower back/gluteal region and travels down the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that starts in the lower back/gluteal region and travels down the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve.  Although it is typically one sided it can be felt in both legs ((bilaterally).  Sciatica is a symptom that can be created by several different pathologies including disc herniation, piriformis syndrome, spinal stenosis and many others.  Although the root cause may differ, ultimately, the compression of the sciatic nerve will cause pain, burning, and/or many other symptoms. 

How Did I Get Sciatica?

As stated above, sciatica is a symptom that can have its root cause in several different injuries or pathologies.  It can be caused by an acute injury or trauma to the lower back, repetitive movements, lifting with improper posture, prolonged sitting, weakness in certain muscles, arthritis and degenerative changes to the spinal bones. 

sciatica pain treatment

Symptoms include:

Symptoms of sciatica may include, but are not limited to:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Tingling
  • Sensations of “electric shocks.”

How is Sciatica Diagnosed?

Sciatica can be easily diagnosed by a physiotherapist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. As it is a symptom of an underlying problem, it is imperative that you receive a comprehensive assessment so that the root cause can be treated appropriately. You do not need an MRI to start treatment and in many cases an MRI will not provide any extra information or change your course of treatment.

Sciatica treatment physiotherapy

Treatment Options for Sciatica:

As stated previously, treating sciatica depends on accurate diagnosis of the underlying root cause. Once diagnosed most causes will respond well to a combination of physiotherapy treatment to include:

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Spinal traction
  • Soft tissue massage of tight musculature
  • Core stability exercises
  • Stretching of tight muscles and/or joints
  • Modalities to decrease muscle tone and pain.

The team of therapists at EPA have all completed post-graduate courses in assessment and treatment of orthopeadic injuries. We are excited to help you on your pathway to improved health. To get started, click HERE to book your initial assessment or call us at a clinic near you.

Is surgery an option?

Spinal surgery is always a last resort. If your pain is predominantly in your legs and an MRI has shown a significant lesion, such as a herniated disc, pinching the nerve, then spinal surgery may be an option. Before exploring any potential surgical options though, the surgeons in Ontario will always recommend a course of at least 8 weeks of rehabilitation such as physiotherapy. Our team is here to help so if you are ready to get started call us today.