Greg (not real name), sits in front of me in his gym blue gym shorts and white T-shirt. Just a month ago he was playing church basketball, doing yard work and worrying about his daughters in high-school. Now he’s telling me he can’t sleep, can’t sit at work where he sits at a computer all day and he can barely walk around. The pain in his butt and down the leg is too much. He has had something like this before but it went a way in a few days. Now it has been two weeks and he is worrying if will ever be normal again.
He has read online that he has sciatica. “Can you help me?” He asked with a worry. “You’ve come to the right place,” I reply. “How long will I be like this and what can we do to help?”
If you are reading this, chances are you have had or worried about a similar experience. READ on, there is hope:
Sciatica is a general term for pain down the leg. It does not necessarily imply what is wrong. There are many culprits of this problem and there are many underlying causes to these culprits. This type of problem can be caused from impingement of the nerves that travel from the back through the back of the hip muscles and down the back of the leg to the feet. So if there is low back issues, hip tightness or muscle knots these both could be irritating the nerve. Sometimes it is inflammation in these sites, or just muscle knots call trigger points from overuse and weakness in the core or hips. Sometimes the nerves themselves can causes the radiating pain down the leg and sometimes the trigger points themselves can cause these radiating sensations.
A skilled Doctor of Physical Therapy will evaluate what is contributing to your issue and any tightness, or weakness that may be contributing to excessive strain at these sites.
Treatments include joint mobilization of the low back, muscle soft tissue to the low back and hips, which may include dry needling (my favorite treatment), cupping, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, other manual technqiues, specific movement stretches/mobility to help open space around the nerves, and other stability exercises for the hip and core.
Check out our Heal Yourself/Exercise section to see examples of what may help you.
Exercises are fundamental to long term solution to speed recovery and to make sure this does not happen again! That means no more missing out on your favorite recreation, no more interference at work, no more worry if you can’t do the things you need and want to do. It means living the FREE LIFE!
Dr. Jason Salisbury PT, DPT, CMTP, CSCS