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Can Physical Therapy Cure Sciatica?

Can Physical Therapy Cure Sciatica?

Say sciatica and most people automatically know you’re talking about a radiating pain on one side of your body that can spread from the lower back all the way down to the lower leg, including the calf, foot, and toes. 

Less known, this often debilitating pain is actually a symptom, not a condition. The condition can be anything, from a herniated disc to bone spurs,  that compress, irritate, or inflame your sciatica nerve, the longest nerve in your body.

Curing sciatica means curing the underlying cause of the damage or compression. But in many cases, physical therapy provides excellent, surgery-free relief.

If you’re experiencing shooting or radiating pain in your leg, board-certified pain management physician Cyril Philip, MD, at Midwest Sport & Interventional Spine in Lake Geneva and Kenosha, Wisconsin, can help determine the cause of your sciatica and develop a treatment plan for you to return to an active pain-free lifestyle. Dr. Philip shares how physical therapy and other nonsurgical treatment options can help you reduce sciatica pain. 

First line of treatment for sciatica

Your symptoms and their severity determine your treatment options. Usually, Dr. Philip starts with a nonsurgical treatment plan. In most cases, the first course of treatment is to rest or take it easy and try over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Applying ice and heat to the affected area can also help.

However, don’t rest for long. Although sciatica may interfere with your flexibility and mobility, movement is the best for relieving and preventing sciatic pain and discomfort. By moving more, you have less pain.

How physical therapy can help your sciatica

Physical therapy is also part of a first-line nonsurgical treatment plan for sciatica. Physical therapy can relieve painful symptoms, treat the underlying cause, and also help prevent sciatica flare-ups from occurring or reoccurring. The goals of physical therapy as a treatment for sciatica are to:

While visiting a physical therapist is essential, doing the exercises and stretches at home as directed is integral to your healing and re-injury. 

If physical therapy and other nonsurgical methods fail to bring relief from sciatica pain, Dr. Philip may recommend cortisone injections or surgery. 

If you experience pain, tingling, and weakness in your lower back and leg, call Midwest Sport & Interventional Spine today or schedule an online appointment with Dr. Philip for a personalized and effective pain relief treatment plan.

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