Back Pain & Sciatica

Back pain and sciatica are often related. The sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in the body and travel the full length of the lower limbs from the lumbar region of the back, down the back of the legs, and all the way to the feet. Sciatica means irritation of the sciatic nerve and is often experienced as sharp searing pain, tingling, and numbness that radiates down the back of one leg.

Most sciatica symptoms are a direct result of lumbar spine dysfunction putting pressure on the sciatic nerve roots, which can also cause back pain. Occasionally, pain is felt more significantly in the buttock because around a quarter of people have sciatic nerves that pierce through a muscle called the piriformis, making the nerve more prone to irritation. It is important to note that sciatica is not a condition but a symptom of an underlying problem.

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Causes of Sciatica and Lower Back Pain

Lumbar spine originating sciatica can have a variety of causes such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, facet joint dysfunction and more.

Pain bending forward? When discs herniate, the jelly-like substance in the center breaks through the outer layer and compresses the nearby sciatic nerve root.

Getting shorter with age? Degenerative disc disease, also known as stenosis, is the result of the discs shrinking down due to loss of hydration, which is a normal part of the aging process. Sciatica occurs if the shrunken discs cause the vertebrae to change shape (osteophyte formation) or to get so close together the exit points for the nerve roots become very small (stenosis), resulting in irritation to the sciatic nerve roots.

Pain with twisting or bending to the side? The vertebrae are also connected to each other by facet joints which can cause pain and nerve pinching if they don’t move efficiently.

Physical Therapy Services

At Body Gears Physical Therapy, we use many techniques and forms of treatment to help eliminate sciatica and lower back pain. Treatment may include facet joint mobilizations, McKenzie-based therapy, soft tissue manual therapy, Functional Dry Needling, core muscle activation and strengthening exercises, sciatic nerve glides, and movement mechanics re-training. These are active types of physical therapy treatment which means we can teach you home techniques that put you in control of your symptoms.

Our goal is to help you manage and eliminate pain, improve range of motion, increase muscle activation and strength, and restore efficient movement mechanics to get you back to normal function. Long-lasting relief from lower back pain and sciatica is on the way with the help of a physical therapist!

Request Free Consult or Contact Us Today at Chicago Lincoln Park, Oak Brook, Oak Park, & Winnetka, IL Centers to learn more about how we can help you get back to the things that matter most and enjoying life without pain.