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What is Sciatica, Anyway?

1/31/13 2:41 PM
Sciatica is a condition caused by irritation to the Sciatic Nerve. Sciatica is a symptom rather than a diagnosis - so treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause of the symptom. The main causes of Sciatica are: a Bulging Disc, Spinal Stenosis and Piriformis Syndrome.

The Symptoms...
  • Pain in the buttocks, with or without burning/tingling down the leg.
  • Weakness, numbness or difficult moving the leg or foot.
  • A sharp pain in the low back that may make it difficult to stand or walk.
  • Pain often starts slowly and may worsen after prolonged sitting, standing, at night and when sneezing, laughing or coughing.

What to Expect if you're experiencing Sciatica...
  • Most Sciatic Symptoms result from inflammation and will resolve in two weeks to a few months.
  • Because nerve pain can be difficult to treat, severe cases may cause the pain to be quite severe and persist for a longer period of time.
  • A full recovery is possible if the underlying cause of the Sciatica is correctly identified and treated.

Treatment Options...
  • Apply heat or ice to the area. This can help to control the pain and inflammation. Not sure which one to apply? Check with one of our therapists.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications. These can also help to reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • In chronic or more severe cases, a physician may recommend injections to help to reduce inflammation around the nerve.
  • Physical Therapy. A physical therapist can develop a program of exercises and stretches specific for your symptoms. These can provide immediate relief of pain.



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Written by the Physical Therapists of Onondaga Physical Therapy. Our therapists provide one-on-one care to patients in Central New York. 

Conveniently located in:

Onondaga Hill: Proudly serves Syracuse, Onondaga Hill, Marcellus and Camillus. Located one turn off of West Seneca Turnpike, about a half of a mile away from the Onondaga Community College campus
Baldwinsville: Proudly serves Baldwinsville, Radisson, Clay, Liverpool and North Syracuse Located on Genesee Street, in the brick plaza behind the Kinney Drugs - across the street from the B'ville Diner
Cicero: Proudly serves Cicero, Clay, Liverpool and North Syracuse. Located inside the Champions Fitness Center on Frontage Road, in the plaza with Ollie's & Cici's Pizza. 
Liverpool: Proudly serves Liverpool, North Syracuse, Clay, Bayberry. Located inside the Pacific Health Club on Old Liverpool Road, just minutes from the city of Syracuse as well as downtown Liverpool. Easily accessible from 690, I-81 and 370 or the Onondaga Lake Parkway.

Aquatic Therapy is available in our Onondaga Hill, Cicero and Liverpool locations. Contact us...a member of our staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have!


Topics: Low back pain, pain, sciatica