Sciatica Pain Treatment serving the Durham, NC area

Sciatica is a relatively common problem that is said to affect 13-40% of people at some point during their lifetime. Many people with this problem will be diagnosed with a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis. Others, won't have a clear answer for the cause of their pain. Our physical therapy in Durham, NC, are experts at finding the root cause of sciatica pain and developing a personalized treatment program for overcoming the pain conservatively.

Healing Sciatica Pain conservatively

Most of the clients that we help will be diagnosed with degenerative changes in their spine that are said to be the root cause of sciatica pain. Fortunately, nearly everyone can avoid surgery and pain meds with the correct diagnosis and treatment plan that matches the underlying problems.

Here are some of the common problems we see with clients who suffer from sciatica:

  • Stiff spinal extension (bending backwards)
  • Stiff spinal rotation to the symptomatic leg
  • Limited hip flexion (knee to chest)
  • Limited hip internal rotation
  • Limited knee extension
  • Weakness throughout the hip, knee, and ankle
  • Abnormal sciatic nerve tension testing

We don't expect you to understand what all of this means. And we don't list everything to confuse you. The point we hope to make is that sciatica is extremely likely a cause of multiple problems occurring in the body. We diagnose the root causes of pain with a full-body movement assessment.

Conditions we treat

Treatment Options

All of our treatment options are conservative in nature. We use a variety of techniques that are designed to address the pain and fix the underlying problem. Some of these techniques include; Myofascial release, dry needling, Mckenzie Method, IASTM, SFMA, and a detailed understanding of pain science which we believe is critically undervalued in traditional healthcare.

Contact Kaizen Physical Therapy today to learn more about the shoulder pain treatment options we offer to patients in the Durham, NC, area.

  • Do I need an X-ray or MRI to diagnose the cause of sciatica?
  • What can be mistaken for Sciatica? 
  • How long does sciatica take to heal?
  • What is the fastest way to cure sciatica?
  • Does sciatica go away on its own?
  • What triggers Sciatica?
  • What Should I Avoid if I Have Sciatica?
  • When do you need surgery for sciatica?
  • What is the best exercise for sciatica?
Do I need an X-ray or MRI to diagnose the cause of sciatica?

It depends on what caused the pain. If the pain came on gradually over time (without traumatic injury) then an X-ray or MRI is likely unnecessary and can lead to unnecessary treatment, such as surgery. 

Most people who have sciatica are dealing with some form of piriformis syndrome. The focus should also be placed on assessing for movement dysfunction with spinal/ hip extension, rotation, and flexion. 

Sciatica is the problem our physical therapy clinic treats the most and we've learned that typically sciatica symptoms correlate with a loss of spinal extension and rotation to the symptomatic leg, along with hip flexion and internal rotation.

What can be mistaken for Sciatica? 

Piriformis syndrome and nerve tension testing are the two most likely problems that mimic sciatica. 

We also find that people who have sciatica symptoms are typically limited in spinal extension, rotation towards the side as the symptomatic leg, hip flexion, and hip internal rotation

Sciatica symptoms don't always mean there is damage causing the pain — such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis. 

A detailed movement assessment of the hips and spine should be performed. Once these movements are returned to normal the symptoms typically subside.

How long does sciatica take to heal?

Of course, this depends on the root cause of the pain. The reality is that most people with sciatica have multiple factors causing the symptoms. 

We typically see our clients for 6-10 total visits before they are back to 100%

A detailed movement assessment will identify the root causes of your symptoms. The focus should be placed on the hips and spine to find the root cause.

What is the fastest way to cure sciatica?

Finding the root cause and fixing it. 

There are typically multiple movement dysfunctions that need to be addressed. Lifestyle factors, such as sitting for too long, can lead to sciatica as well. 

Find someone who is able to assess the movement at your hips and spine to find the root cause. 

Typically, there is going to be a limitation in spinal extension and rotation towards the symptomatic leg. Likewise, the hip is typically limited in flexion and internal rotation. Fixing the movement dysfunctions will be the surest way to cure sciatica for the long term.

Does sciatica go away on its own?

Yes, it can. However, if the pain has been felt for more than 3-4 days with no signs of improvement you should really consider seeking the help of a medical professional. 

The longer pain goes on the harder it is to get rid of. Furthermore, pain can cause other parts of the body to compensate which may lead to other areas hurting (i.e. sciatica pain leading to hip pain). 

We typically see our clients for 6-10 visits before they are 100%, but that number does increase if the pain has been a problem for months to years.

What triggers Sciatica?

There are many causes of sciatica. The most common causes are a herniated disc or piriformis syndrome. 

Regardless of the cause, we have found people with sciatica are generally limited in spinal extension and rotation towards the symptomatic leg. Furthermore, the symptomatic leg is also generally limited in hip flexion and internal rotation. 

More times than not, once these movements are improved the symptoms improve. Also worth noting, people with sciatica generally sit more than those without it (before the pain started). Prolonged sitting can absolutely be a factor in causing sciatica.

What Should I Avoid if I Have Sciatica?

Avoid laying or sitting for multiple days, especially if you are an older adult. 

If you're able to stand and walk then we'd recommend doing so. Movement will improve blood flow and provide nutrients to heal the inflammation. 

Furthermore, multiple days of bed rest can lead to more problems such as severe fatigue or blood clots. Keep moving, your body needs it!

When do you need surgery for sciatica?

If the symptoms don't improve with conservative care then surgery may be recommended. Please reach out to us before you opt for surgery.

What is the best exercise for sciatica?

Generally, the one that is dysfunctional. Assessing how the spine and hips are moving is crucial to fixing sciatica. 

Returning the dysfunctional movements back to normal nearly always results in fixing the problem. With that said, spinal extension is the most common movement people with sciatica are dysfunctional with.

But like all pain, there's more than one factor that's causing the symptoms and that's why you should find someone to assess the spine and hips at a minimum.

Wondering if our physical therapy clinic is the right approach for your problem?

Medical Disclaimer:

All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website.