Sciatica is one of the most common diagnoses that we see in physical therapy. But what exactly is sciatica and how do physical therapists treat this complex diagnosis? The simple answer is the treatment is all dictated by the source.
Generally, Sciatica is a term that is commonly used to describe pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling that radiates down the back of the leg. Typically, the symptoms follow the distribution of the sciatic nerve, but there can be some confusion as to the source of the pain especially when the patient’s symptoms are referred. Our job as PTs is to determine the source of the nerve irritation or referral origin and treat it accordingly with physical therapy. This is often accomplished with a thorough musculoskeletal exam and typically without the need for costly medical imaging. Below are the most common causes of sciatica seen in PT and how we typically treat them.
4 Types of Sciatica