Physical Therapy and Your Sciatic Pain

Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist want to inform you that patients that suffer with sciatica don’t always have to turn to surgery. Sciatica us a common issue that is caused by the irritation from the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. Pain from sciatica is usually felt from the lower back to behind the thigh and radiates below the knee. This pain can make walking, sitting or standing up an issue.

6 causes of sciatica include:

  1. Trauma– car accidents, falls and sports injuries.
  2. Piriformis syndrome– When the piriformis muscle is tight, injured or stressed, it can compress the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms of sciatica.
  3. Spinal tumors– Tumors, though they are not as common, can compress nerves causing pain in the hip, thigh and groin.
  4. Herniated disk– Disks that are located in between the vertebrae of our spine can become displaced and bulge inward or outward pressing on part of the sciatic nerve. This is one of the most common causes of sciatica.
  5. Lumbar spinal stenosis– Narrowing of the passageways that major nerves pass through in the spine will irritate and compress the nerves.
  6. Spondylolisthesis– When the vertebrae slip out of alignment with the rest of the spine due to disease, previous injuries or surgeries, or excessive physical stress, symptoms of sciatica may occur.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy, physical therapy can offer the same results for patients with sciatica who have had spinal surgery. The academy reports from the British Medical Journal and states that studies have only shown short-term improvement in patients who have had surgery. After 6 months to 2 years, the difference between surgery patients and physical therapy patients diminishes.

Surgery is not only costly, but risky.

“The significance of this study is that patients may be able to avoid surgery if they realized they can expect a similar improvement in symptoms if they use other ways to manage the pain for 6 months,”

says Dr. Timothy Flynn of Regis University in Denver, CO, and President of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).

Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist encourages patients to become educated about their sciatic and back pain. She agrees with Timothy Flynn in his statement:

“Patients should be aware that surgery is not the only option to reduce the symptoms of sciatica.”

Call Walker Physical Therapy & Pain Center to schedule an appointment. Treatment is affordable and effective!


1111 W. Town & Country Rd. Ste.1

Orange, Ca 92868