Sciatica symptoms and treatment — how physical therapy can help

Sciatica Symptoms and Treatment

Sciatica is a general term for a collection of symptoms that can have a broad range of causes. What these diverse cases of sciatica have in common is compression or irritation of the long and wide sciatic nerve. This important pathway starts in the lower back and branches into the buttocks and hips before traveling down into both legs. 


Since the sciatic nerve plays such an important role in both movement and sensation for the lower body, sciatica can have a devastating impact on your quality of life and activity level. Whether you’ve been officially diagnosed with sciatica or wondering if you have it, learning more about the symptoms and treatment options can play an important first role in your recovery process. 

Causes of sciatica and common symptoms

Sciatica symptoms can be caused by disruptions of the sciatic nerve due to issues ranging from a lower spine condition like a herniated disc, to injuries in the buttocks such as piriformis syndrome, to tight hamstrings. It is also common for the condition to develop among pregnant women due to the pressure it can place on the lower body. While individual cases vary, sciatic nerve compression typically results in symptoms that can include:


  • Lower back pain
  • Shooting pains into the hips and buttocks
  • Leg pain and muscle weakness that results in limping
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Tingling and numbness in the lower extremities, including the toes


Sciatica symptoms can be both acute, if it is related to a temporary condition like a strained muscle, or chronic, if the cause is a progressive spine condition or related to arthritis. In either case, there are a wide range of effective treatments available, including physical therapy. 

Physical therapy to treat sciatica symptoms

When you see a physical therapist for sciatica relief, the first step is a comprehensive evaluation designed to identify the sources of pain, including posture or movement issues that may be contributing. From there, your therapist can help you design a personalized treatment plan consisting of manual therapies, therapeutic exercises and other methods that can help take pressure off the sciatic nerve and relieve symptoms. 


At Franklin Rehabilitation, our experienced therapists can help you design a personalized treatment plan based on your specific condition and recovery goals. We believe in providing exceptional and compassionate care designed to get you back to the healthy and active lifestyle you deserve. 


To learn more and schedule your initial appointment, contact us today.