What Do I Need To Do For Sciatica?

Sciatica is one of the most common back ailments that we see in our Elizabeth and Jersey City physical therapy clinics today.  The symptoms, originating in the lower back, manifesting itself as pain, numbness, or tingling that travel down the sciatic nerve of each leg, can be both disheartening and difficult to handle, affecting numerous aspects of a person's daily life.

With most of our patients, the following question always come up during the physical therapy evaluation:

What Do I Need To Do To?

The best thing to do for sciatica, especially if you are worried about it coming back again in the future, is to complete all 3 phases of healing.

Phase One is where you focus on getting rid of the pain, numbness, and tingling.

Phase Two is where you focus on getting normal movement back and full strength.

Phase Three is where you go back to previous activities you want to do.

In our physical therapy clinics, after we see a person who had sciatica and are now pain free, with full motion and full strength, we ask, "What activities have you avoided in the past month that you want to get back to doing?"  Some will say walking, golfing, or gardening, or some other activity along those lines.  And we'll tell that person to take the next month or two and do everything you want to do that you could do before.  They'll continue to complete their home exercise program to get stronger and stronger.

Most come back for a re-check appointment in 2 months and have absolutely no trouble at all.  Some do have a relapse.  We then look at the activity closely and at the program and help them get on the right track.  Depending on your prior fitness level, most people who are stronger tend to recover more quickly.  But, in general, it's usually only one or two visits before that person is on the right track again.

Overall, in in order to have the best chance of success, you have to stick to the program.  That includes that in-clinic visit recommendation from your physical therapist, and the recommended home exercise program.  If you rigorously stick to the program, you'll be rid of the pain quickly, and naturally, before you know it!

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Dr. Asha Koshy is a Physical Therapist and co-owner of Complete Physical Rehabilitation in Jersey City and Elizabeth, NJ.

She is a McKenzie certified back pain Physical Therapist specialist, an LSVT BIG certified specialist for Parkinson's Disease, and also specializes in treating Vestibular conditions relating to vertigo, dizziness, and other balance disorders.