Physical Therapy for Sciatica in Colorado Springs
Living in Colorado, many of us thrive off experiencing the outdoors. However, there are some instances where one may start to experience nerve pain in your lower back and leg while enjoying our great landscapes. If this occurs, you may benefit from specialized physical therapy for sciatica.
Sciatica is a pain that radiates down the leg along the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts in your lower lumbar spine, specifically between your L4-S2 segments. It runs down each leg, supplying the upper legs with motor functions and the lower legs with motor and sensory functions.
There are various reasons why you may be affected by sciatica. In many cases, it may be caused by a herniated disk or a bone spur, which can pinch or aggravate the sciatic nerve. Another cause may be due to a lack of strength within the gluteal and piriformis muscles of the hips which can compress on the sciatic nerve during certain activities. As with any condition, there are various severities in which Sciatica can present. Typically, mild to moderate sciatica will go away on its own. However, if you experience sciatic nerve pain for longer than a week, we recommend contacting your physician as specific treatment may be needed to alleviate the pain. With most mild to moderate sciatic nerve pain, your physician may refer you to a physical therapist to strengthen the surrounding musculatures as an initial conservative treatment method. At Colorado Springs Orthopedic Group, Physical therapy for sciatica is one of the many neuromuscular conditions our Physical Therapists specialize in and treat daily. This type of rehabilitation has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for alleviating mild to moderate sciatic nerve pain.
Please note, if you are experiencing severe sciatica pain caused by a traumatic injury, such as an auto accident or sports injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Likewise, if your pain significantly worsens in a short amount of time, we recommend seeing an orthopedic physician promptly. Our walk-in orthopedic urgent care, Express Care is open Monday through Friday, 7 am-5 pm and Saturdays 8 am-12 pm.
Sciatic Nerve Pain Symptoms & Causes
Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain include radiating pain in the lower spine, pelvis, and hips, or in the buttocks and down the back of your leg. Women who are in the mid to late stages of pregnancy may experience mild to moderate sciatic pain as well due to compression on the nerve.
Some patients may experience sudden sharp pain when sneezing or coughing, causing extreme discomfort. Long periods of sitting can also aggravate the sciatic nerve and may require specific stretching or physical therapy exercises to help alleviate this pain.
Chiropractor or Physical Therapy for Sciatica?
Most can typically achieve sciatic pain relief by seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist. The type of treatment you choose is primarily a personal preference depending on what you hope to accomplish as both medical professionals have training specific to evaluating and treating sciatica. Chiropractors can assist by assessing where bones may be misaligned or pinching the nerve, while Physical Therapists can assess where muscular imbalances may be present and help you gain strength in the lagging areas alleviating any compensation that may be resulting in sciatic pain.
Chiropractic Adjustments for Sciatica:
The purpose of a chiropractic adjustment is to achieve short-term pain relief and is a hands-on manipulation technique of the musculoskeletal system. These adjustments can provide temporary pain relief as it allows for the surrounding musculatures to relax and increases the mobility within the adjusted joint. For example, a lumbar spine adjustment may reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve, temporarily easing the pain. Depending upon the source of sciatic pain, a patient may only see temporary relief as imbalances within correlating muscular structures may pull on the joint during various activities.
Physical Therapy for Sciatica:
With physical therapy, the aim is to promote long-term healing and restore optimal function to the body. Physical therapy treatments may include hands-on mobilization of specific joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. By assessing where specific muscles may be compensating for lack of strength within other correlating muscles and diligently performing strengthening exercises to correct these compensations, physical therapy specific to the treatment of sciatica can drastically improve range of motion, total body strength, and blood flow to the affected extremities. For example, properly activating and strengthening the gluteal muscles, can help rehabilitate the symptoms of a herniated disk, reducing the severity of sciatic nerve pain.
Benefits and Outcomes of Physical Therapy for Sciatica:
The primary benefits of physical therapy for treating sciatica include pain relief, improved range of motion, and restored motor skills and body functionality. Physical therapy for sciatica is also less expensive and less invasive than other methods, such as surgery, injection therapy, or medications. Most patients who are diligent with their recommended restorative physical therapy plan state their pain has reduced dramatically within a few weeks to a few months. On average, these patients experience long-term pain relief with less chance of the pain recurring.
The total number and the frequency of your physical therapy sessions will depend upon the severity of your sciatica, adherence to treatment, and the pain relief experienced throughout treatment.
Our Colorado Physical & Occupational Therapists
At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we work with some of the most elite Physical Therapists in Colorado Springs. Our teams are highly trained and highly experienced in their specialties. Contact CSOG’s Physical Therapy department today to request a list of our physical therapists and their teams.
To make an appointment at our North Campus location call (719) 867-7320
To make an appointment at our South Campus location call (719) 622-4524